Nevada’s Pepper Spray Laws: An Overview

Pepper spray is a great, go-anywhere option for self-defense they can be carried where other weapons cannot, and it is also legal in all 50 states.

nevada flag

However, citizens who want to carry pepper spray must know the laws governing pepper spray in the state they reside in or are traveling to.

Nevada is a state with good, broadly permissible laws concerning pepper spray and other defensive sprays in the hands of civilians.

There is a minor capacity restriction on tear gases, but other than that you have broad latitude when it comes to the type of formula and the size of the canister you want.

Keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know about Nevada’s pepper spray laws.

Your Nevada Pepper Spray Passport

The following summarizations represent the most important things you need to know concerning Nevada’s pepper spray laws:

  • Convicted felons may not own or possess pepper spray or other defensive sprays in the state of Nevada.
  • Traditional pepper spray, OC, and CS-based tear gases are legal in Nevada.
  • If carrying tear gas, the total capacity of the dispenser is limited to no more than 2 oz of the solution, including any inert ingredients.
  • All CS-based defensive sprays must have a manufacturer’s name and serial number on the dispenser, and they must be legible. Removing either, or carrying a dispenser with obliterated identifying information is a crime.

We will go into a lot more detail below.

Can You Legally Carry Pepper Spray in Nevada?

Yes. Pepper spray is completely legal to carry in Nevada as a civilian, whether or not you want to carry it openly or concealed.

You do not need special permission or a concealed weapons permit to carry pepper spray in Nevada.

You may also keep pepper spray or other defensive sprays in your car in a compartment or openly if you choose.

How Much Pepper Spray Can You Carry in Nevada?

The amount of defensive spray that you can carry in Nevada is restricted based on the type of spray.

Genuine pepper sprays do not have any capacity restriction, whereas tear gas-based sprays are limited to no more than 2 ounces of solution in a dispenser, including any inert ingredients.

You’ll want to read the following excerpt from Nevada’s state statutes for all the details concerning the restrictions on tear gas spray capacity:

NRS 202.370 – Definitions.

202.370 to 202.440, inclusive, to small weapons containing “CS” tear gas and to certain law enforcement, correctional and military personnel.

1. The provisions of NRS 202.370 to 202.440, inclusive, do not apply to the sale or purchase by any adult, or the possession or use by any person, including a minor but not including a convicted person as defined in NRS 179C.010, of any form of:

(a) Cartridge which contains not more than 2 fluid ounces in volume of “CS” tear gas that may be propelled by air or another gas, but not an explosive, in the form of an aerosol spray; or

(b) Weapon designed for the use of such a cartridge which does not exceed that size,

and which is designed and intended for use as an instrument of self-defense.

What Pepper Spray Formulas are Legal in Nevada?

There are only two types of defensive spray legal in Nevada for civilian use. The first is actual pepper spray or OC. The second is CS-based tear gases. The law makes no mention of the legality of blends.

Note that these two distinctions are derived from the definition of tear gas, found in NRS 202.370.

Specifically excluded from the definition of tear gas is any liquid, gaseous or solid substance with an active ingredient made from or derived from natural substances which causes no permanent injury.

Since pepper spray has an active ingredient that is oleoresin capsicum, the exact same compound that makes hot peppers hot, it falls outside the definition of tear gas.

The definition of tear gas from NRS 202.370 is included just below.

NRS 202.370 – Definitions.

2. “Tear gas” includes all liquid, gaseous or solid substances intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispersed in the air. The term does not include a liquid, gaseous or solid substance whose active ingredient is composed of natural substances or products derived from natural substances which cause no permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispersed in the air.

When Can You Legally Use Pepper Spray in Nevada?

You may use your pepper spray or tear gas dispenser to protect yourself or someone else from the imminent use of unlawful force against you, so long as your use of defensive force is proportional to the threat.

What does that mean? It means that you cannot pepper spray someone to win an argument or because they are verbally berating you.

You could use your pepper spray against someone who looks like they’re about to punch you or are threatening to beat you up while invading your personal space.

The use of pepper spray defensively, though considered a minimal force in the eyes of the law in most jurisdictions, is still a force and might entail legal consequences in the aftermath.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the strongest pepper spray you can carry in Nevada?

There are no specific restrictions or regulations on the potency of any defensive spray formulation.

However, the defining characteristic of such sprays whether or not they are pepper spray or tear gas is that they inflict no permanent harm through normal use.

If you purchase a defensive spray product from a reputable, major manufacturer you shouldn’t have one single thing to worry about.

On the other hand, buying from a little-known, brand new or obviously shady vendor might set you up for some serious legal liability.

By the same token, you should never try to homebrew your own incredibly potent pepper spray to use instead. If your pepper spray causes an attacker’s last injury, you might have a problem.

Will you go to jail if you pepper spray someone?

Yes, quite possibly. As mentioned about pepper spray, while almost always considered minimal force, is it still considered force against another person.

Only in rare cases will the police clear you of wrongdoing at the scene of a self-defense encounter during the aftermath.

You should expect to be detained, and don’t be surprised if you go to jail. Preparing for this eventuality with your attorney is an important part of any self-defense plan.

Is pepper spray considered a deadly weapon?

No, pepper spray is not considered a deadly weapon anywhere in the United States, at least not by definition.

But again, if the use of your pepper spray results in great bodily injury or death to your assailant, either directly or through second-order effects, your use of the spray might be charged accordingly.

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