Pepper Spray Laws – Missouri

Missouri’s laws concerning pepper and other defensive sprays are pretty much wide open for citizens. There is no restriction on the type, quantity or formula of defensive sprays and they may be bought and sold freely.

flag of Missouri

In fact, one of the very few laws they even have on the books concerning the subject is in regards to the definition of the term “gas gun”, a deadly weapon, in which typical devices that eject repellent or temporarily incapacitating substances are exempted.

Below you will find the rest of the story on Missouri’s pepper spray laws as well as the relevant state statutes included at the end of the article.

Fast Facts

  • Missouri places no restriction on formulation of pepper spray for civilian use. OC pepper sprays as well as CN/CS tear gas formulas are allowed, as is chemical mace.
  • Civilians may own and carry on or about their person any size dispenser they prefer.
  • Though Missouri hardly regulates the purchase and possession of defensive sprays, the criminal misuse of such sprays could still constitute serious misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Overview

Missouri stands out as another excellent state for pepper spray use and ownership, as they hardly regulate civilian possession and carry at all.

First, Missouri defines typical defensive sprays by what they specifically are not, in 571.010. The definition under paragraph 10, “gas gun”, defines such a device as anything, or any weapon, cartridge, container or bomb that is designed or adapted to eject a poison gas capable of causing death or serious physical injury.

As you might imagine, gas gun devices are not okay for civilian use but the definition further exempts specifically any device that ejects a repellent or temporarily incapacitating substance. That definitely includes all of our typical defensive sprays of any formulation.

This means that you may purchase and use OC, CN, CS or mace sprays and furthermore possess and carry them in any format or quantity that suits your purposes. That is pretty much it as far as restrictions, or the lack thereof, goes in Missouri!

But with that being said you must be aware that criminal misuse of any defensive spray, or any wacky hijinks or pranks, would still certainly fall under the realm of assault in one degree or another and that can carry with it substantial misdemeanor or felony charges.

You have been warned, don’t misbehave with pepper sprays in Missouri and make sure you only use them in a legitimate self-defense situation!

Conclusion

Missouri is an extremely permissive state when it comes to pepper sprays, with no restrictions on formulation, quantity or purchasing in force. So long as you are not using your pepper spray for any criminal or illicit purpose you won’t have any issues obtaining or carrying it in the state.

Relevant State Statutes

Section 571.010 Definitions.

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(7) “Explosive weapon”, any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb or similar device designed or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death, serious physical injury, or substantial property damage; or any device designed or adapted for delivering or shooting such a weapon. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term “explosive” shall mean any chemical compound mixture or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion, including but not limited to, dynamite and other high explosives, pellet powder, initiating explosives, detonators, safety fuses, squibs, detonating cords, igniter cords, and igniters or blasting agents;

(8) “Firearm”, any weapon that is designed or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;

(9) “Firearm silencer”, any instrument, attachment, or appliance that is designed or adapted to muffle the noise made by the firing of any firearm;

(10) “Gas gun”, any gas ejection device, weapon, cartridge, container or contrivance other than a gas bomb that is designed or adapted for the purpose of ejecting any poison gas that will cause death or serious physical injury, but not any device that ejects a repellant or temporary incapacitating substance;

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571.030. Unlawful use of weapons — exceptions — penalties.

1. A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons, except as otherwise provided by sections 571.101 to 571.121, if he or she knowingly:

(1) Carries concealed upon or about his or her person a knife, a firearm, a blackjack or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any area where firearms are restricted under section 571.107; or

(2) Sets a spring gun; or

(3) Discharges or shoots a firearm into a dwelling house, a railroad train, boat, aircraft, or motor vehicle as defined in section 302.010, or any building or structure used for the assembling of people; or

(4) Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner; or

(5) Has a firearm or projectile weapon readily capable of lethal use on his or her person, while he or she is intoxicated, and handles or otherwise uses such firearm or projectile weapon in either a negligent or unlawful manner or discharges such firearm or projectile weapon unless acting in self-defense; or

(6) Discharges a firearm within one hundred yards of any occupied schoolhouse, courthouse, or church building; or

(7) Discharges or shoots a firearm at a mark, at any object, or at random, on, along or across a public highway or discharges or shoots a firearm into any outbuilding; or

(8) Carries a firearm or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any church or place where people have assembled for worship, or into any election precinct on any election day, or into any building owned or occupied by any agency of the federal government, state government, or political subdivision thereof; or

(9) Discharges or shoots a firearm at or from a motor vehicle, as defined in section 301.010, discharges or shoots a firearm at any person, or at any other motor vehicle, or at any building or habitable structure, unless the person was lawfully acting in self-defense; or

(10) Carries a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board; or

(11) Possesses a firearm while also knowingly in possession of a controlled substance that is sufficient for a felony violation of section 579.015.

2. Subdivisions (1), (8), and (10) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to the persons described in this subsection, regardless of whether such uses are reasonably associated with or are necessary to the fulfillment of such person’s official duties except as otherwise provided in this subsection. Subdivisions (3), (4), (6), (7), and (9) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to or affect any of the following persons, when such uses are reasonably associated with or are necessary to the fulfillment of such person’s official duties, except as otherwise provided in this subsection:

(1) All state, county and municipal peace officers who have completed the training required by the police officer standards and training commission pursuant to sections 590.030 to 590.050 and who possess the duty and power of arrest for violation of the general criminal laws of the state or for violation of ordinances of counties or municipalities of the state, whether such officers are on or off duty, and whether such officers are within or outside of the law enforcement agency’s jurisdiction, or all qualified retired peace officers, as defined in subsection 12 of this section, and who carry the identification defined in subsection 13 of this section, or any person summoned by such officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while actually engaged in assisting such officer;

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563.031. Use of force in defense of persons.

1. A person may, subject to the provisions of subsection 2 of this section, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person, unless:

(1) The actor was the initial aggressor; except that in such case his or her use of force is nevertheless justifiable provided:

(a) He or she has withdrawn from the encounter and effectively communicated such withdrawal to such other person but the latter persists in continuing the incident by the use or threatened use of unlawful force; or

(b) He or she is a law enforcement officer and as such is an aggressor pursuant to section 563.046; or

(c) The aggressor is justified under some other provision of this chapter or other provision of law;

(2) Under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the person whom he or she seeks to protect would not be justified in using such protective force;

(3) The actor was attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of a forcible felony.

2. A person shall not use deadly force upon another person under the circumstances specified in subsection 1 of this section unless:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or herself or her unborn child, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony;

(2) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle lawfully occupied by such person; or

(3) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual, or is occupied by an individual who has been given specific authority by the property owner to occupy the property, claiming a justification of using protective force under this section.

3. A person does not have a duty to retreat:

(1) From a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining;

(2) From private property that is owned or leased by such individual; or

(3) If the person is in any other location such person has the right to be.

4. The justification afforded by this section extends to the use of physical restraint as protective force provided that the actor takes all reasonable measures to terminate the restraint as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

5. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of justification under this section. If a defendant asserts that his or her use of force is described under subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section, the burden shall then be on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably believe that the use of such force was necessary to defend against what he or she reasonably believed was the use or imminent use of unlawful force.

563.041. Use of physical force in defense of property.

1. A person may, subject to the limitations of subsection 2, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what he or she reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission by such person of stealing, property damage or tampering in any degree.

2. A person may use deadly force under circumstances described in subsection 1 only when such use of deadly force is authorized under other sections of this chapter.

3. The justification afforded by this section extends to the use of physical restraint as protective force provided that the actor takes all reasonable measures to terminate the restraint as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

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