Pepper Spray and New York Law

New York has certain regulations with regards to pepper spray.
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Pepper spray is used as a non-lethal form of self-defense. New York has specific regulations and guidelines regarding selling, purchasing and carrying pepper spray. These regulations govern the size of the pepper-spray canisters that can be sold, as well as the information that must be provided with each canister. Pepper spray in New York must be used for self-defense purposes only. Any other use can result in criminal charges. Certain animal pepper sprays in New York carry different guidelines.


Anyone with a felony record may not purchase pepper spray in New York.

In order to purchase pepper spray in New York you must be at least 18 years of age and have no record of felony or assault convictions either in New York, or another state. You may only buy pepper spray in New York from a fully licensed firearms dealer or from a pharmacist who has a permit to sell it. Before finalizing a purchase of pepper spray, you must fill out a form indicating that you are of legal age and are free of felony convictions. The total number of pepper spray canisters that can be sold to one person at one time is two.


First aid information must be provided with pepper spray canisters.

Pepper spray canisters sold in New York must include directions for proper use. They must also contain information regarding safety and storage, as well as first-aid information. Each canister must also supply a toll-free telephone number regarding the availability of local self-defense training and safety courses for using the product. Finally, the canister must declare that using the spray for any purpose other than self-defense is a criminal offense.


It is only legal to carry pepper spray in New York if the canister is pocket-sized. Each canister must have a label on it indicating that the spray is for self-defense purposes only. Although it is legal to carry pepper spray in New York, it must be purchased within the state. It is illegal to mail pepper spray from another city, state or country into New York.

NY Department Of Health

The New York Department of Health places regulations on exactly what types of self-defense pepper spray can be sold in the state. The active ingredient in any canister of legal pepper spray must be oleo-resin capsicum. The maximum net weight of any canister is 3/4oz. Furthermore, the canister itself may not appear to be anything but pepper spray. Disguising it to look like something else is a criminal offense.

Animal Sprays

Bear repellents carry different regulations than other pepper sprays.

While it is illegal to mail or bring pepper spray into New York from another area, certain types of animal pepper sprays, or animal repellents, are legal to ship and transport--including dog and bear pepper sprays. Unlike traditional pepper spray, these sprays may be purchased online and do not require a criminal background check. You need not purchase animal pepper sprays in New York from a licensed firearms dealer or pharmacy.