Pepper spray deserves a spot in the arsenal of every defensively-minded citizen. Guns are great and knives certainly do the job, but when it comes to ranged defensive options that don’t inflict deadly injuries, pepper spray is the best thing going.
And one of the very best things about pepper spray is that it is legal all across the land in the United States.
Every state has a provision for its citizens to carry pepper spray or some other defensive spray in one capacity or another.
Some states are a little pickier about the type of spray or the quantity, but wherever you might go you can rest easy knowing you can keep your pepper spray with you.
Arkansas is a state of contrasts in this regard. Pepper spray is absolutely legal and easy to carry here, but the state does impose a limit on the capacity of the spray.
Something of a blemish on an otherwise pro-defense set of laws. The rest of this article will tell you everything else you need to know.
Your Arkansas Pepper Spray Passport
The following represents the most pertinent and important distillation of Arkansas state pepper spray laws:
- So long as the use of force is proportional to the threat, Arkansas law justifies the use of pepper spray in self-defense, the defense of another person or the defense of property.
- All typical pepper spray and tear gas formulations are legal in Arkansas, as are blends. Citizens may carry either openly or concealed without benefit of a concealed weapons permit.
- Regrettably, Arkansas imposes a capacity limitation on all types of defensive spray for civilian usage. 150cc, equivalent to just about 5 oz, is the max that a citizen may carry.
Keep reading to learn more about the law in detail.
Can You Legally Carry Pepper Spray in Arkansas?
Yes, you sure can. Arkansas law permits all residents and visitors to carry pepper spray or any other defensive spray without the benefit of a concealed weapons permit.
You can carry it openly, you can carry concealed, and you can carry it in your car. No problem.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can carry it anywhere you want although pepper spray can go where many other weapons cannot legally go in the hands of a civilian.
You can carry your pepper spray legally into private businesses that have no weapons placards posted, and can even carry it into the post office and most other government installations without worry.
However, you still cannot carry it into the secured area of an airport and a few other sensitive locations. That being said, if you want to be armed at all times without fear of crossing the law, pepper spray is ideal.
How Much Pepper Spray Can You Carry in Arkansas?
Arkansas is a pretty good State when it comes to self-defense laws and being firmly on the side of citizens standing their ground against crime. But sadly, they fall away short when it comes to one particular restriction on defensive sprays.
Arkansas law imposes an odious capacity restriction on pepper sprays and tear gases being carried by civilians. You can only carry a maximum of 150 cc’s, or about 5 oz, and that’s all.
Now, compared to other more restrictive states this is still plenty of juice to get the job done, but it is still sad to see.
And not for nothing, this isn’t something you want to treat with kid gloves either. Violating this law, found in section 5-73-124, means that you’ll be committing a misdemeanor crime, one that entails a not insubstantial financial penalty and jail time.
You can check out the exact text of the law just below, presented partially here.
5-73-124. Tear Gas – Pepper Spray
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who knowingly carries or has in his or her possession any tear gas or pepper spray in any form, or any person who knowingly carries or has in his or her possession any gun, bomb, grenade, cartridge, or other weapon designed for the discharge of tear gas or pepper spray, upon conviction is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(A) It is lawful for a person to possess or carry, and use, a container of tear gas or pepper spray to be used for self-defense purposes only.
(B) However, the capacity of the container shall not exceed one hundred fifty cubic centimeters (150 cc).
What Pepper Spray Formulas are Legal in Arkansas?
Despite the capacity restriction, Arkansas does permit citizens to carry both OC or pepper spray, blends as well as tear gas formulations.
Though the law does not specifically state that blends are allowed it is implied that they are and they are freely available within the borders of Arkansas.
So whichever type of defensive spray you prefer, you’ll be in good shape in Arkansas when it comes to obtaining and carrying it.
Do keep in mind, any defensive spray that is legal for use in this capacity must not be designed to inflict permanent injury or otherwise maim the target.
Also, don’t carry any other kind of aerosol spray or agent with the intention of using it defensively: using such chemicals in a manner that is inconsistent with their labeling is ill-advised and also a crime under Arkansas and possibly federal law.
When Can You Legally Use Pepper Spray in Arkansas?
You can use pepper spray in self-defense whenever you or another person are threatened with unlawful force so long as you think the use of unlawful force against you is realistic and imminent.
Note this does not necessarily have to entail a risk of death or great bodily injury before you resort to the use of pepper spray in self-defense, which is itself defensive force.
Under Arkansas law, the use of defensive Force must be proportional to the unlawful Force used against the defender if the defender’s force is justifiable.
Because pepper spray is itself not a lethal weapon and, as a general rule, does not inflict death or great bodily injury on the target you may use pepper spray if someone is threatening to punch you, invade your personal space, threaten you, or otherwise preparing to get physical with you.
Yes, pepper spray inflicts a ton of pain but it does not inflict any lasting injuries. This means that you can ethically and legally reach for pepper spray and use it in situations where a gun, knife, or other lethal weapons would perhaps not pay justified or be considered excessive force.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the strongest pepper spray you can carry in Arkansas?
Arkansas law does not stipulate any limit on the strength or potency of pepper spray, tear gas, or any other commonly available and otherwise legal defensive spray.
So long as it meets the capacity restriction detailed above and is a commonly available type that is sold to civilians or police you shouldn’t have any issues carrying it in the state.
Will you go to jail if you pepper spray someone?
Possibly. Except in rare cases where you are cleared at the scene of the incident, using Force against another person, even something as relatively harmless as pepper spray, means you will likely be detained by the police.
Regardless of whether or not you can bail yourself out or let go, you should expect to spend a little time in jail if you pepper spray someone.
Is pepper spray considered a deadly weapon?
No, at least not in Arkansas. A deadly weapon is one that has a high likelihood of inflicting great bodily injury or death in the course of normal usage in self-defense or any other context. That definitely isn’t pepper spray!
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