Can Felons Carry Pepper Spray? What The Law Says

Oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, commonly known as pepper spray, is a type of self-defense weapon that can cause temporary blindness to attackers and deter them from continuing their attack. People carry and use it to protect themselves against assault and dangerous situations. Many people, including felons, may wonder if they are allowed to carry pepper spray.

It depends on where you live and your specific circumstances. In general, pepper spray is considered a non-lethal weapon. However, in some states like California and Arkansas, felons are prohibited from having access to pepper sprays.

In this article, we talk about the laws and provisions in place to determine whether or not people convicted of a felony are allowed to possess pepper spray.

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What Does the Law Say?

What does the Law Say?

In general, most states allow convicted felons to possess and carry pepper spray for self-defense purposes, as long as the spray is used lawfully.

However, there may be some restrictions on the type and size of the spray that a felon can possess, as well as on where and how the spray can be used.

Furthermore, it is legal for felons to purchase pepper spray online in many states with more relaxed regulations on their possession.

It is essential to research state-specific laws prior to purchasing and using any self-defense products, including pepper spray containers.

In some cases, felons can obtain permits or written permission that enable them to purchase and use pepper spray legally under certain circumstances.

Such permits can typically be obtained through police departments or other law enforcement agencies after demonstrating appropriate need.

It is important for felons wanting to carry pepper spray to check their state’s pepper spray laws before doing so to avoid legal consequences.

There may be specific restrictions that apply only to felons, such as age limits or types of sprays allowed.

Additionally, even if pepper spray use is allowed by law in the state where the felon resides, there may still be additional local regulations that must be followed. Felons should always exercise caution when owning pepper spray and be aware of any applicable laws. 

It is significant to note that state laws regarding pepper spray use can change over time, so it is always a good idea to check the current laws in your state to ensure that you are in compliance.

If you are a convicted felon and are considering owning pepper spray for self-defense, you should consult an attorney or your probation officer to ensure that you are complying with the laws in your state.


  • Those who have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving assault in California or any other state, including the use of pepper spray in a non-self-defense situation
  • Individuals addicted to controlled substances or any narcotic drug
  • Minors under the age of 16

Note: Minors aged 16 and over may buy and own pepper spray if a parent or guardian is present or provides written permission.

The adult who has given their permission will be liable for any civil liabilities that may arise if the minor is careless or uses the pepper spray inappropriately.


In Ohio, citizens can freely purchase and possess any type of pepper spray and carry any amount they feel comfortable with. However, convicted felons are not allowed to own or possess pepper spray.

All other citizens or visitors must be at least 18 years old to legally possess pepper spray.


In Pennsylvania, individuals can purchase and possess pepper spray without a license, but felons are not allowed to carry it because it is classified as a weapon.

It is also prohibited to bring pepper spray into certain buildings and areas, such as government buildings and schools.


Pepper spray is recognized as a legal method of self-defense in Florida, and it is legal in all 50 states, but there are rules that apply to its use.

  • The size of the canister must not exceed 2 ounces (75.6 gram)
  • Individuals who have been convicted of a felony are not permitted to use pepper spray, regardless of the crime
  • The use of pepper spray against a police officer is strictly prohibited by law.
  • In most states, it is generally not necessary to have a concealed weapon license in order to carry pepper spray.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, pepper spray and mace are classified as weapons but can be legally carried by adults aged 18 and over with no criminal record.

Failure to comply with legal restrictions may result in criminal charges, while using mace or pepper spray during the commission of a crime could be considered similar to using a dangerous weapon.

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968


In addition to state laws, there may also be federal laws that prohibit felons from carrying pepper spray.

For example, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 is a federal law that regulates the sale, possession, and use of firearms in the United States.

It was enacted in response to the high levels of gun violence in the country at the time, and its goal was to help reduce the number of firearms-related crimes and fatalities.

One of the main provisions of this act is to prohibit felons from owning or possessing any firearm or dangerous weapon, which may include pepper spray.

However, this law does not apply to all felons and may have exceptions depending on the type of offense and the length of time that has passed since the conviction.

It’s also important to consider any probation or parole restrictions that may apply to you as a felon. Even if pepper spray is legal in your state, you may still be prohibited from carrying it if it is prohibited by your probation or parole conditions.


In conclusion, the answer to whether or not felons can carry pepper spray depends on the jurisdiction; however, even if legal in their state, felons should consider all the risks and safety factors before you use pepper spray.

It is essential to comply with any applicable pepper spray laws in order to avoid legal repercussions as well. Ultimately, felons must decide for themselves if bringing pepper spray for self-defense is a wise decision based on their individual circumstances.

If you are a person with a felony charge and want more information, please consult an attorney or local law enforcement agency for guidance.

Additionally, there are numerous websites available that can provide more detailed information about state-specific laws regarding pepper sprays and felonies.

Remember to always exercise caution before you purchase pepper spray and be aware of your state’s laws to protect yourself. Doing so can help ensure that you stay safe while protecting yourself and complying with the law.

1 thought on “Can Felons Carry Pepper Spray? What The Law Says”

  1. Here you are wrong about Ohio.
    After talking with a detective and also the information desk at the Police department, there is NO law against felons carrying pepper spray-none!
    It is NOT listed under weapons disability in Ohio and is NOT a firearm-it is Non-lethal.
    Felons in Ohio are allowed to carry pepper spray.
    There is NO law in Ohio that explicitly defines pepper spray as a weapons disability for felons-only guns, knives, clubbing devices, and explosives.

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