Personal safety is crucial in today’s dangerous world, but many ask, Is pepper spray legal in Michigan? For Michigans, having some form of personal defense is necessary, and pepper spray remains one of the best self-defense devices.
There are several legalities surrounding the use of pepper spray in Michigan. If you’re looking to purchase a pepper spray in Michigan, it’s important to understand Michigan law around pepper sprays.
Improper use of this self-defense device can lead to a fine or a jail term. So it’s key to know the Michigan law of pepper spray.
So Is Pepper Spray Legal in Michigan?
Yes, pepper spray is legal in Michigan with restrictions. Michigan allows the use of pepper spray with specific limitations. There are restrictions on the type of spray, canister size, and selling age.
Keep reading below as we break down the legalities surrounding the use of pepper spray in Michigan.
The Legality of Pepper Spray in Michigan Explained
The Michigan penal code (excerpt) act 328 of 1931 covers 750.224d Self-defense spray or foam device. It describes a self-defense pepper spray as a device that can carry, and emit the following:
- Not more than 35 grams of CG gas and inert ingredients
- A solution with not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum (OC)
- An ultra-violet dye and not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum
Ideally, the device will not release gas that will temporarily or permanently injure the person whom the gas comes in contact with. As per the law, the use of pepper spray is legal, but within the described requirements above.
A person who uses pepper spray to release gas at another person outside these requirements is guilty of a misdemeanor. One can be punished by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, a fine of $2000, or both.
It’s also illegal to use pepper spray while committing a crime. If a person uses pepper spray during a crime to temporarily or permanently disable another person, then the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The judge imposing the sentence is advised to consider the use of the spray in enhancing the sentence.
Selling pepper sprays to minors (under 18) is also considered illegal. Section 4 of the pepper spray law states that a person shall not sell pepper spray to a minor.
A person who sells pepper spray to a minor can be sentenced to not more than 90 days, a fine of $500, or both.
Section 5 of the self-defense pepper spray allows the use of pepper not containing more than 18% oleoresin capsicum by the county sheriff or police. Persons employed by the police and authorized in writing can also carry and use pepper spray.
However, such persons must be trained on the use and risks of the device while performing their duties.
The law also allows for reasonable use of not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum pepper spray by persons in the protection of a property or another person.
Pepper Spray Usage and Carrying Guidelines in Michigan
Proper use and storage of pepper spray is highly recommended. A self-defense spray must be kept in a secure location. But can you carry it everywhere?
Yes, pepper spray can easily be carried in a bag or purse where it’s readily accessible. Unlike firearms that require concealed carry, pepper spray can be carried openly.
However, there are a few prohibited locations. For example, pepper spray is prohibited in some schools, government buildings, courthouses, and sporting events.
On the proper pepper spray usage, there needs to be justification. One can only use pepper spray for self-defense against an imminent threat of physical harm. As indicated earlier, improper use of pepper spray can lead to criminal charges.
Pepper Gun Use in Michigan and the Most Recent Legislative Developments
The legality surrounding the use of pepper guns in Michigan is murkier. While the sprays are legal to use with restrictions, they are also considered illegal when interpreted as a self-defense spray or foam device.
To clarify the legality of pepper sprays in Michigan, a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in 2023. The bill aims to include pepper sprays under the definition of self-defense spray.
The bill aims to:
- Allow a concealed pistol carry license for one to use self-defense spray or foam that is not more than 10% OC. The person must be trained on the device, its use, risks, and effects. When carrying the device, the person must also possess evidence showing the training.
- Legalize open and concealed carrying of self-defense spray.
- Specify the penalty for selling self-defense spray to minors. The offense is currently classified as a misdemeanor with not more than 90 days of imprisonment or a fine of $500. However, this does not change the current law.
Currently, the bill has not been passed into law.
Arguments for and against the use of pepper spray in Michigan
Is the bill necessary? People supporting the bill claim Michigan’s laws on using self-defense sprays and foams are inappropriately strict. They want the laws related so that a variety of less-lethal self-defense products are available for the general public.
Proponents of the bill argue that women, in general, would benefit by being able to carry and use the spray for self-defense.
However, some people say the bill is not necessary. They claim the OC levels of the sprays are not accurate at measuring their potency. Different pepper spray products with the same OC are not equal in potency.
Most argue that the product’s heat is measured by the Scoville Heat Units. The units reflect the capsaicin content. This content might vary between two products. For example, a 2% OC might be hotter than a 10% OC if the capsaicin content is lower in the 10% product.
Arguments for and Against the Use of Pepper Spray in Michigan
While pepper spray is a straightforward self-defense device, there are crucial recommendations to consider before getting one. These recommendations will ensure you upload the law while using the spray.
First, you need to undertake a self-defense course. A self-defense course will teach you the basic deployment techniques. You’ll also learn the effects and risks of pepper spray.
Taking a course will help you understand the legal implications when using pepper spray.
Choosing the right pepper spray
Make sure you purchase the right type of pepper spray that meets the legal Michigan requirements. Buy spray with not more than 18% oleoresin capsicum. Consider purchasing from reputable retailers.
Know your rights
You need to educate yourself on the use of pepper spray and the laws surrounding its use in Michigan. Are there places where you can’t take pepper spray? Learn of places where pepper spray is prohibited.
Consult a lawyer
Do you have any doubts about the use of pepper spray in Michigan? Consider talking to a lawyer about it. A lawyer will advise you on the proper use of pepper spray and all the legalities surrounding pepper guns.
How To Use Pepper Spray Effectively for Self-Defense
Now that you know all the legalities surrounding pepper spray, it’s important to learn how to use it properly.
Remember, pepper spray is a defense tool and not a guarantee of safety. You need to practice situational awareness. Avoid risky situations and learn de-escalation techniques.
First, start by choosing the right pepper spray with the right formula and concentration that meets the Michigan laws.
Secondly, you must practice beforehand. Understand your spray and familiarize yourself with the operation. Almost all canisters feature a safety lock that must be disengaged before use. Make sure you practice unlocking it and using it safely.
When using the spray, aim for the attacker’s face. This increases the chances of the spray getting into their eyes, nose, and mouth and temporarily disabling them.
You also need to maintain a proper distance from the attacker. A 6-10 feet distance is recommended to properly apply the spray and avoid being overpowered.
Maintain a firm grip on the canister for better control. Keep your thumb on the bottom and your index and middle fingers on the top.
When spraying, use short bursts as opposed to a continuous spray. This will conserve your spray and increase its effectiveness. You can also move from side to side to create a barrier with the attacker.
Lastly, be mindful of the wind direction. The last thing you want is the spray blowing back to your eyes. Once the attacker is disabled, don’t engage them. Retreat to a safe location and call for help.
Is pepper spray legal in Michigan? By understanding the laws and responsible use of pepper spray in Michigan, you’re better placed to protect yourself. This places you in a good position to protect yourself while upholding the law.
Michigan allows the use of pepper sprays with a few restrictions. Understanding the restrictions above will enable you to navigate the complexities of personal protection. Make sure you use the right spray that meets the Michigan requirements.
Pepper sprays should not be sold to minors. Overall, make sure you educate yourself on the effects, risks, and legalities of pepper spray in Michigan before purchasing one.