Pepper Spray Laws – Ohio

Ohio is a legally friendly state as far as pepper spray is concerned. Citizens may freely purchase and possess all manner of defensive sprays in any standard formulation they desire, and they may also carry any quantity that they are comfortable with.

However, Ohio does prohibit convicted felons from owning or possessing defensive sprays and any other citizen or visitor must be at least 18 years old or older to legally possess otherwise permitted sprays. This latter age restriction is the only blemish on otherwise exemplary policy.

flag of Ohio

Keep reading to get the complete tale of the tape concerning Ohio’s defensive spray laws and to be sure to check out the selection of the most relevant statutes at the end.

Fast Facts

  • All typical defensive spray formulations are permitted in Ohio, including OC, CN, CS and blends.
  • Citizens may carry any quantity of defensive spray that they choose. There is no capacity restriction in the State of Ohio.
  • Defensive sprays may only legally be possessed by those who are age 18 years old or older in Ohio.
  • Convicted felons may not possess pepper spray or any other defensive spray in the state of Ohio. Additionally, those convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes of violence may also be restricted from possession.

Overview

Ohio is a dependably solid state concerning citizens’ possession of pepper sprays or any other defensive spray.

With only a couple of exceptions, anyone may freely acquire, own and possess defensive spray of any type and in any quantity that they desire. Considering that defensive sprays are an excellent self-defense option this is good news!

First, citizens may choose from any typical defensive spray formulation that they want, for whatever reason they prefer it. OC pepper sprays remain the most common and popular option but CN and CS tear gas formulations are still on the table.

Additionally, citizens may choose a product that blends one or more typical formulas or combines them with various, non-dangerous additives like visible or invisible marking dye.

As always, stay away from any suspicious products offered by flea market vendors and don’t give in to the temptation to brew your own super formula. If a defensive spray causes permanent harm you could be facing serious legal trouble. Stick with the known and you’ll be fine.

The good news keeps coming with consideration that citizens may also carry any quantity of pepper spray that they desire, as Ohio imposes no restriction on payload or capacity in any way.

The smallest personal dispensers are permitted as are the largest canisters suited for multi-target application. When you need your defensive spray more is always better so going unhindered by any wimpy half-ounce restriction as is common in some other states is a boon.

Based on the wording of certain statutes it appears that Ohio does, in fact, have an age restriction concerning pepper spray, that age being 18 years old or older. This is a bit of a disappointment, as defensive sprays are one of the very best self defense options for underage people.

Lastly, Ohio also restricts defensive sprays from the possession of any convicted felons, and based on the wording of the attendant statutes likely people convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes of violence, particularly domestic violence, as well.

Any crime or charge that otherwise imperils various civil rights concerning weapons ownership is likewise going to bar the possession of defensive sprays, too.

In the end, so long as you were 18 years old or older and are not a felon you should not have any problems purchasing or carrying any sort of defensive spray in the state of Ohio.

Conclusion

Ohio is largely permissive regarding the carry and use of defensive sprays by citizens, and it places no restrictions on any of the commonly available spray formulations or the quantity that a citizen may carry.

Ohio does restrict defensive spray ownership and possession to those aged 18 or older, and further restricts possession by anyone who has been convicted of a felony and likely from those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence.

Relevant State Statutes

Section 2923.11 – Weapons control definitions.

As used in sections 2923.11 to 2923.24 of the Revised Code:

(A) “Deadly weapon” means any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.

(B)

(1) “Firearm” means any deadly weapon capable of expelling or propelling one or more projectiles by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant. “Firearm” includes an unloaded firearm, and any firearm that is inoperable but that can readily be rendered operable.

(2) When determining whether a firearm is capable of expelling or propelling one or more projectiles by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant, the trier of fact may rely upon circumstantial evidence, including, but not limited to, the representations and actions of the individual exercising control over the firearm.

(C) “Handgun” means any of the following:

(…)

(1) Any firearm that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand;

(2) Any combination of parts from which a firearm of a type described in division (C)(1) of this section can be assembled.

(…)

(3) Any industrial tool, signalling device, or safety device, that is not designed as a firearm, but that as designed is capable of use as such, when possessed, carried, or used as a firearm.

(H) “Explosive device” means any device designed or specially adapted to cause physical harm to persons or property by means of an explosion, and consisting of an explosive substance or agency and a means to detonate it. “Explosive device” includes without limitation any bomb, any explosive demolition device, any blasting cap or detonator containing an explosive charge, and any pressure vessel that has been knowingly tampered with or arranged so as to explode.

(I) “Incendiary device” means any firebomb, and any device designed or specially adapted to cause physical harm to persons or property by means of fire, and consisting of an incendiary substance or agency and a means to ignite it.

(J) “Ballistic knife” means a knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism.

(K) “Dangerous ordnance” means any of the following, except as provided in division (L) of this section:

(1) Any automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, or ballistic knife;

(2) Any explosive device or incendiary device;

(3) Nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose, nitrostarch, PETN, cyclonite, TNT, picric acid, and other high explosives; amatol, tritonal, tetrytol, pentolite, pecretol, cyclotol, and other high explosive compositions; plastic explosives; dynamite, blasting gelatin, gelatin dynamite, sensitized ammonium nitrate, liquid-oxygen blasting explosives, blasting powder, and other blasting agents; and any other explosive substance having sufficient brisance or power to be particularly suitable for use as a military explosive, or for use in mining, quarrying, excavating, or demolitions;

(…)

Section 2923.12 – Carrying concealed weapons.

(A) No person shall knowingly carry or have, concealed on the person’s person or concealed ready at hand, any of the following:

(1) A deadly weapon other than a handgun;

(2) A handgun other than a dangerous ordnance;

(3) A dangerous ordnance.

(…)

Section 2901.05 – Burden of proof – reasonable doubt – self-defense.

(A) Every person accused of an offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the burden of proof for all elements of the offense is upon the prosecution. The burden of going forward with the evidence of an affirmative defense, and the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, for an affirmative defense other than self-defense, defense of another, or defense of the accused’s residence as described in division (B)(1) of this section, is upon the accused.

(B)

(1) A person is allowed to act in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of that person’s residence. If, at the trial of a person who is accused of an offense that involved the person’s use of force against another, there is evidence presented that tends to support that the accused person used the force in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of that person’s residence, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person did not use the force in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of that person’s residence, as the case may be.

(2) Subject to division (B)(3) of this section, a person is presumed to have acted in self-defense or defense of another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if the person against whom the defensive force is used is in the process of unlawfully and without privilege to do so entering, or has unlawfully and without privilege to do so entered, the residence or vehicle occupied by the person using the defensive force.

(3) The presumption set forth in division (B)(2) of this section does not apply if either of the following is true:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has a right to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the residence or vehicle.

(b) The person who uses the defensive force uses it while in a residence or vehicle and the person is unlawfully, and without privilege to be, in that residence or vehicle.

(4) The presumption set forth in division (B)(2) of this section is a rebuttable presumption and may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence, provided that the prosecution’s burden of proof remains proof beyond a reasonable doubt as described in divisions (A) and (B)(1) of this section.

(C) As part of its charge to the jury in a criminal case, the court shall read the definitions of “reasonable doubt” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” contained in division (D) of this section.

(D) As used in this section:

(1) An “affirmative defense” is either of the following:

(a) A defense expressly designated as affirmative;

(…)

Section 2903.12 – Aggravated assault.

(A) No person, while under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force, shall knowingly:

(1) Cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn;

(2) Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance, as defined in section 2923.11 of the Revised Code.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated assault. Except as otherwise provided in this division, aggravated assault is a felony of the fourth degree. If the victim of the offense is a peace officer or an investigator of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation, aggravated assault is a felony of the third degree. Regardless of whether the offense is a felony of the third or fourth degree under this division, if the offender also is convicted of or pleads guilty to a specification as described in section 2941.1423 of the Revised Code that was included in the indictment, count in the indictment, or information charging the offense, except as otherwise provided in this division, the court shall sentence the offender to a mandatory prison term as provided in division (B)(8) of section 2929.14 of the Revised Code. If the victim of the offense is a peace officer or an investigator of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation, and if the victim suffered serious physical harm as a result of the commission of the offense, aggravated assault is a felony of the third degree, and the court, pursuant to division (F) of section 2929.13 of the Revised Code, shall impose as a mandatory prison term one of the definite prison terms prescribed in division (A)(3)(b) of section 2929.14 of the Revised Code for a felony of the third degree.

(…)

Section 2903.13 – Assault.

(A) No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.

(B) No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.

(…)

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