Is Pepper Spray Legal In PA

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

When it comes to self defense there are a few techniques that people use. When you are out late at night, that is the most common time when you may feel unsafe. Therefore, you need a way to be able to defend yourself. Pepper spray is often used as a non-lethal weapon you can use. In this article we will discuss whether pepper spray is legal in Pennsylvania.

What Is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is made from oleoresin capsicum. This is the main ingredient that makes peppers hot and spicy. Therefore, if you are sprayed with pepper spray the effects can be painful, like when you eat extremely spicy food. Pepper spray is normally sprayed into the eyes, which then causes immediate symptoms to weaken your opponent. These symptoms include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Temporary blindness
  • Fatigue 

Pepper spray is commonly used as a non lethal form of self defense. It is non-lethal as the symptoms will wear off after a certain period of time, which gives you enough time to run away and get help. 

Pennsylvania Pepper Spray Laws

In Pennsylvania there are no restrictions on the lawful use of pepper spray. Therefore pepper spray is legal, however there are a couple of rules that you must follow. You don’t need to have a license to carry pepper spray, and as long as you are above 18 years old you can carry pepper spray on your person.

Pepper spray is seen as a very effective way to stand off someone who is attacking you when some kind of force is needed. 

There are certain buildings and areas where you are not allowed to carry pepper spray on your person. This includes courthouses and schools. You are also not allowed to bring pepper spray with you on commercial planes.

However it can be contained in checked baggage, but you are not allowed access to it during your flight. If you don’t follow these rules and you are found with pepper spray on your person in areas that it is forbidden to, then it can be confiscated. 

When Can You Use Pepper Spray

The only time you should consider using pepper spray is when you are under attack. As a result, pepper spray should only be used as a form of self defense, it isn’t a toy to be played around with. If you use pepper spray on someone and it isn’t in self defense, then you could be charged with assault. Even though pepper spray isn’t considered a weapon, there are still laws about causing harm and injury to another person

Therefore, pepper spray should only be used when you are under attack. Otherwise you will pay the consequences and be charged for assault. 

Pepper Spray Laws In Other States

Pennsylvania’s laws are quite lenient. However, you will notice that in other states their pepper spray rules are a lot different and much more strict. In some states, the amount of pepper spray that you can purchase is limited.Therefore, if you are found with more than the amount that you are allowed to have, you can be fined or arrested. 

The strength of the pepper spray that you are allowed differs from state to state. Most pepper sprays contain between 2% and 10% capsaicin. Yet there are other pepper sprays that contain tear gas. In some states tear gas in pepper spray is illegal. Therefore, when buying pepper spray you need to make yourself aware of the rules and laws your state has about pepper spray. 

You’ll notice that in most states, pepper spray is seen as a personal defense weapon. However, each state has different rules that restrict you. 

Is Pepper Spray And Tear Gas The Same Thing

Both pepper spray and tear gas are seen to be used during self defense and during large crowd controlling situations. People may refer to each product as the same thing, but it is important to note that pepper spray and tear gas are two completely different products.

Pepper spray is made from a combination of natural chemicals. Compared to tear gas that is made from man made compounds. Pepper spray is sprayed onto the attacker, while tear gas is used in a grenade and explodes to release the chemicals. 

They both have similar effects on their attackers, but you’ll find that tear gas is quite a lot stronger.

Other Non Lethal Weapons You Can Carry In PA

Apart from pepper spray, there are other methods and weapons for self defense that you can use in Pennsylvania. 

In Pennsylvania you can legally carry a stun gun or taser, but you can only carry them for the sole purpose of self defense. A stun gun is a device that will temporarily immobilize a person by the use of electric currents and pulses. They can be carried by anyone of any age. Although in Philadelphia, you have to be at least 18 years old to buy and carry a stun gun. 

However, under the Pennsylvania law, if a person is denied from possessing or owning firearms they are then not allowed to own and possess a stun gun. Again, this a non lethal weapon, which should only be used when in self defense.

If you are found using this device on someone for any other reason, the stun gun will be taken away from you and you may be fined for harm towards other people.

Although, you don’t have to carry anything for self defense. Sometimes, just being aware of your situation and using common sense when something isn’t right is a great form of self defense. 


Having possession of pepper spray is legal in Pennsylvania, however it should only be used as a form of self defense. It is seen as a non lethal weapon, to be used in situations when you need force to get away from your attacker, that isn’t deadly. There are certain places where you are not allowed to have pepper spray on your person. 

Pepper spray should only be used as a form of self defense. Otherwise you could be arrested and fined for causing unnecessary harm towards another person. Pepper spray may be legal in PA, but if you do travel to any other state you need to check their pepper spray regulations, as it could differ to Pennsylvania,