Pepper Spray Laws – Delaware

Delaware is a permissive state when it comes to pepper sprays and other defensive sprays. You may own any category of defensive spray consisting of any blend of natural or synthetic ingredients so long as they are intended for self-defense, any size and any configuration. Delaware has very few restrictions on the sale or ownership of typical pepper sprays.

The only restrictions that are found are that a prospective purchaser or carrier of pepper spray must be 18 years of age or older and then anybody who is in possession of pepper spray must not have any felonies on their record. Aside from that there are not many restrictions on the books in Delaware.

Delaware flag

Fast Facts

  • Delaware has no restrictions on the type of pepper spray the civilians may carry: OC, CN and CS sprays are all permitted, as are blends.
  • Delaware has no restrictions on the quantity or size of a defensive spray container that may be possessed or carried.
  • A person in Delaware may not be in possession of a defensive spray if they are under the age of 18 years old or have committed any felonies.

Overview

You’ll find that Delaware is a largely friendly state when it comes to civilian possession and use of pepper spray and other defensive sprays.

Delaware legally classifies these sprays as “disabling chemical sprays”, but since that is quite a mouthful we will continue to use the colloquialisms “pepper spray” and “defensive spray” throughout this article.

Unlike some other states that are only nominally pepper spray friendly Delaware places no restrictions on what kind of defensive spray may be possessed.

You may use any formulation that you feel is adequate to the task including genuine pepper spray, OC, or any variety of tear gas spray be it CN or CS. Blends are also permissible.

Additionally a person may possess or carry any size of pepper spray that they feel is warranted, from a micro-sized keychain canister to an extra large riot canister suitable for home defense.

However, there are certain persons prohibited from possessing any defensive spray in the state of Delaware. Anyone who is under the age of 18 years old may not possess any defensive spray of any kind. Additionally, felons who have not had their civil rights regarding weapons possession restored may not possess or use any defensive spray.

Conclusion

Delaware is a dependable state regarding the ownership, possession and use of pepper spray. With no major regulations concerning the formulation or quantity of spray that a civilian may possess and no interference regarding the purchasing, shipping or acquisition of such sprays Delaware stands as a nearly model state in this regard.

Relevant State Statutes

222 General definitions

(4) “Dangerous instrument” means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury, or any disabling chemical spray, as defined in paragraph (7) of this section or any electronic control devices including but not limited to a neuromuscular incapacitation device designed to incapacitate a person.

(5) “Deadly weapon” includes a “firearm”, as defined in paragraph (12) of this section, a bomb, a knife of any sort (other than an ordinary pocketknife carried in a closed position), switchblade knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, razor, bicycle chain or ice pick or any “dangerous instrument”, as defined in paragraph (4) of this section, which is used, or attempted to be used, to cause death or serious physical injury. For the purpose of this definition, an ordinary pocketknife shall be a folding knife having a blade not more than 3 inches in length.

(7) “Disabling chemical spray” includes mace, tear gas, pepper spray or any other mixture containing quantities thereof, or any other aerosol spray or any liquid, gaseous or solid substance capable of producing temporary physical discomfort, disability or injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispersed in the air, or any canister, container or device designed or intended to carry, store or disperse such aerosol spray or such gas or solid.

(22) “Physical force” means any application of force upon or toward the body of another person.

(23) “Physical injury” means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

(26) “Serious physical injury” means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ, or which causes the unlawful termination of a pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant female.

602 Menacing; unclassified misdemeanor.

(a) A person is guilty of menacing when by some movement of body or any instrument the person intentionally places another person in fear of imminent physical injury.

Menacing is an unclassified misdemeanor.

(b) A person is guilty of aggravated menacing when by displaying what appears to be a deadly weapon that person intentionally places another person in fear of imminent physical injury. Aggravated menacing is a class E felony.

611 Assault in the third degree; class A misdemeanor.

A person is guilty of assault in the third degree when:

(1) The person intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or

(2) With criminal negligence the person causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.

Assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

612 Assault in the second degree; class D felony.

Universal Citation: 11 DE Code § 612 (2019)

(a) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree when:

(1) The person recklessly or intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person; or

(2) The person recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or

(3) The person intentionally causes physical injury to a law-enforcement officer, a volunteer firefighter, a full-time firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, fire police officer, fire marshal, correctional officer, a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, public transit operator, a code enforcement constable or a code enforcement officer who is acting in the lawful performance of duty. For purposes of this subsection, if a law-enforcement officer is off duty and the nature of the assault is related to that law-enforcement officer’s official position, then it shall fall within the meaning of “official duties” of a law-enforcement officer; or

(4) The person intentionally causes physical injury to the operator of an ambulance, a rescue squad member, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, paramedic, or licensed medical doctor while such person is performing a work-related duty; or

(5) The person intentionally causes physical injury to any other person while such person is rendering emergency care; or

(6) The person recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to another person who is 62 years of age or older; or

(7) The person intentionally assaults a law-enforcement officer while in the performance of the officer’s duties, with any disabling chemical spray, or with any aerosol or hand sprayed liquid or gas with the intent to incapacitate such officer and prevent the officer from performing such duties; or

(8) The person intentionally, while engaged in commission of any crime enumerated in this chapter, assaults any other person with any disabling chemical spray, or with any aerosol or hand sprayed liquid or gas with the intent to incapacitate the victim; or

(9) The person intentionally causes physical injury to any state employee or officer when that employee or officer is discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of employment or office; or

(10) The person recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to a pregnant female. It is no defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the person was unaware that the victim was pregnant; or

(11) A person who is 18 years of age or older and who recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to another person who has not yet reached the age of 6 years. In any prosecution of a parent, guardian, foster parent, legal custodian or other person similarly responsible for the general care and supervision of a child victim pursuant to this paragraph, the State shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of any justification offered by § 468(1) of this title. In any prosecution of a teacher or school administrator pursuant to this paragraph, the State shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of any justification offered by § 468(2) of this title; or

(12) The person recklessly or intentionally causes physical injury to a law-enforcement officer, security officer, fire police officer, fire fighter, paramedic, or emergency medical technician in the lawful performance of their duties by means of an electronic control device shall be a class C felony.

(b) It is no defense, for an offense under paragraph (a)(6) of this section, that the accused did not know the person’s age or that the accused reasonably believed the person to be under the age of 62.

(c) It is no defense, for an offense under paragraph (a)(11) of this section, that the accused did not know the person’s age or that the accused reasonably believed the person to be 6 years of age or older.

(d) Assault in the second degree is a class D felony.

613 Assault in the first degree; class B felony.

(a) A person is guilty of assault in the first degree when:

(1) The person intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or

(2) The person intentionally disfigures another person seriously and permanently, or intentionally destroys, amputates or disables permanently a member or organ of another person’s body; or

(3) The person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person; or

(4) While engaged in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any felony, the person intentionally or recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person; or

(5) The person intentionally causes serious physical injury to a law-enforcement officer, a volunteer firefighter, a full-time firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, fire police officer, fire marshal, public transit operator, a code enforcement constable or a code enforcement officer who is acting in the lawful performance of duty; or

(6) The person intentionally causes serious physical injury to the operator of an ambulance, a rescue squad member, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, paramedic, licensed medical doctor or any other person while such person is rendering emergency care; or

(7) The person intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person who is 62 years of age or older.

(b) It is no defense, for an offense under paragraph (a)(7) of this section, that the accused did not know the person’s age or that the accused reasonably believed the person to be under the age of 62.

(c) Assault in the first degree is a class B felony.

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