Pepper Spray Laws – Arkansas

Arkansas is a pro-pepper spray state for civilians, but one that has an annoying restriction on the size, or capacity, of any defensive spray in civilian hands.

Even though it is generous, Arkansas limits any defensive spray, pepper- or tear gas-based, to 150 CC’s, or a little over 5 ounces. Though this is reasonable compared to some other states with capacity limits on defensive sprays, it is none the less annoying.

flag of Arkansas

Happily, Arkansas is however permissible when it comes to the use of such sprays in defense of one’s own person, someone else or property so long as the use of force is reasonable or in response to the unlawful force that is imminently going to be used against you or someone else.

We will provide you with a summary of the Arkansas statutes below to help you get a handle on things in the state pertaining to defensive sprays and will also provide you with the exact text of the state statutes at the end of the article.

Fast Facts

  • Citizens may own and carry any formulation of defensive spray. Pepper sprays and tear gases are allowed specifically, and presumably blends as well.
  • Arkansas does have a size restriction for civilian defensive spray canisters. The maximum amount of solution that any canister may carry is 150 CCs, or 5 oz.
  • Citizens are permitted to use their defensive sprays to prevent the unlawful use of force against themselves or someone else, or to protect property so long as the use of force is reasonable.

Overview

Arkansas is generally amenable to citizens owning and carrying defensive sprays of all kinds. Pepper spray, or OC is allowed as is tear gas, both CN and CS formulas. Presumably, blends are allowed as well, though the statute does not specifically mention blends in the text.

Unfortunately, Arkansas does restrict the amount of solution that a citizen can carry, no matter what type of solution it is. The maximum amount of defensive spray that a citizen may carry at any time is 150 CCs, which equates to just a tiny hair over 5 ounces.

You definitely don’t want to test the state on this one: Carrying more than the legal amount is a misdemeanor crime under the state statutes.

The statute in question, 5-73-124, states that except as provided in the section any person who knowingly carries or has in his or her possession any tear gas or pepper spray in any form or any gun, bomb, cartridge or other device designed for the discharge thereof is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, unless the container in question is lawful for a person to possess or carry, and has a capacity not exceeding 150 cubic centimeters.

The only exceptions to this provision are for law enforcement officers engaged in the pursuit of their duties or any banking institution utilizing pepper spray or tear gas in any form to secure the premises. That’s it.

Other than that, there is not much to tell regarding Arkansas’s pepper spray laws, save that they allow the use of force (via any legal defensive spray) so long as it is a reasonable response to the imminent use of unlawful force or the active use of unlawful force against yourself or someone else, or in certain circumstances in defense of property.

As always, you cannot use any defensive spray in response to verbal provocation alone or two simple annoyance; defensive sprays are generally categorized as non-lethal weapons, but using them against anyone else without good cause we’ll see you tagged with assault charges!

Conclusion

Arkansas is a pretty good state for those who want to carry defensive sprays. You may carry OC or tear gas with no problems, but the state does have an annoying restriction on capacity. Civilians are limited to carrying no more than 150 cc’s, or right at 5 oz, and no more under penalty of law.

Violating that statute is a misdemeanor. In the state of Arkansas, one may generally use defensive sprays freely in self-defense so long as it is a reasonable response to the unlawful use of force against oneself or someone else. All in all, not too much to complain about.

Relevant State Statutes

5-13-206. Assault in the Second Degree

(a) A person commits assault in the second degree if he or she recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of physical injury to another person.

(b) Assault in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor.

5-13-203. Battery in the Third Degree

(a) A person commits battery in the third degree if:

(1) With the purpose of causing physical injury to another person, the person causes physical injury to any person;

(2) The person recklessly causes physical injury to another person;

(3) The person negligently causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(4) The person purposely causes stupor, unconsciousness, or physical or mental impairment or injury to another person by administering to the other person, without the other person’s consent, any drug or other substance.

(b) Battery in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

5-13-210. Introduction of Controlled Substance Into Body of Another Person

(a) It is unlawful for any person to inject any controlled substance as defined by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, § 5-64-101 et seq., into the human body of another person, unless the controlled substance has been ordered for the person receiving the controlled substance by a licensed practitioner, licensed by the state to prescribe controlled substances in the schedule involved and this being for a legitimate medical purpose.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to administer or cause to be ingested, inhaled, or otherwise introduced into the human body of another person a controlled substance as defined by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, § 5-64-101 et seq., unless the controlled substance has been ordered for the person receiving the controlled substance by a licensed practitioner, licensed by the state to prescribe controlled substances in the schedule involved and this being for a legitimate medical purpose.

(c) Any person who violates this section with respect to:

(1) A controlled substance in Schedule I or Schedule II, which is a narcotic drug, is guilty of a Class Y felony;

(2) Any other controlled substance in Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III is guilty of a Class B felony; or

(3) Any other controlled substance in Schedule IV, Schedule V, or Schedule VI is guilty of a Class C felony.

(d) The provisions of this section and any criminal penalty provided for in this section are in addition to any other criminal penalty a person may be subjected to under a provision of the Arkansas Criminal Code or the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, § 5-64-101 et seq.

(e) It is not a defense under a provision of this section that a person:

(1) Consented to being injected with the controlled substance; or

(2) Ingested, inhaled, or otherwise introduced the controlled substance into his or her human body knowingly and voluntarily.

(f) Notwithstanding a provision of subsection (c) of this section, any person is guilty of a Class Y felony who violates this section by introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person without that other person’s knowledge or consent with the purpose of:

(1) Committing any felony sexual offense, as defined in Arkansas law;

(2) Engaging in any unlawful sexual act, as defined in § 5-14-101 et seq.;

(3) Engaging in any unlawful sexual contact, as defined in § 5-14-101; or

(4) Engaging in any act involving a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct, as defined in § 5-27-302.

5-73-124. Tear Gas – Pepper Spray

(a)

(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.

(2)

(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).

(b) The provisions of this section do not apply to any:

(1) Law enforcement officer while engaged in the discharge of his or her official duties; or

(2) Banking institution desiring to have possession of tear gas or pepper spray in any form for the purpose of securing funds in its custody from theft or robbery.

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