By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just when you thought the crowds who were Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving night couldn’t get less classy comes news of two women – one pregnant – in a mall in Fort Meyers, Florida who used pepper spray against each other. While police have declined to press charges because of conflicting accounts by the “ladies” and the lack of other people who wanted to admit they’d witnessed the madness, it certainly reminds us that any moron can get her hands on a bottle of pepper spray, and it raises the question: is there any law on who can get it and how it can be used?
You don’t need a license to carry pepper spray in any state, although in some states, like New Jersey, the purchase is limited to non-felons over age 18, and may only be carried in small quantities.
Once you have it, there are some places you can never bring it.
Under federal law, you can’t carry pepper spray onto an airline. And since 9/11, there are some state and federal buildings or places that require you go through security that forbids it.
As for using it, you are to use it only to prevent personal injury in self defense, and only up to the reasonable level required to prevent the injury. You can’t use it because you don’t like the way a guy is looking at you – or the last of the super sale priced merchandise you have your eye on and, if you spray an innocent person in the face with it, you can be charged with assault and battery assuming there are people who witness your descent.