Pepper Spray Laws – Florida

Florida is a state that is rightly known for its excellent self-defense laws and civilian friendly statutes when it comes to weapons.

As you would probably guess, this also applies to pepper spray, with the state having hardly any restrictions at all on these valuable self-defense tools. That is great news for those who rely on pepper spray alone for self-defense, or as an option in their self-defense repertoire.

Florida flag

Aside from a generous capacity restriction and a probable restriction on the use of animal specific chemical irritant sprays in a self-defense role, there are no other restrictions whatsoever on the ownership or mode of carry of pepper spray and other self-defense sprays in the state. We will get into all the details just below.

Fast Facts

  • Florida imposes no restrictions on the type or formulation of self-defense spray that may be carried so long as it is non-lethal and not permanently injurious.
  • Accordingly OC, CN and CS aerosols are permitted. Blends of natural and/or synthetic compounds are also permitted.
  • Florida does impose a capacity restriction on self-defense chemical sprays. Any spray carried on or about the person may not contain more than 2 oz. of chemical total.

Overview

Florida is an undeniably pro self-defense state, and has been for some time. With some of the least restrictive gun and weapon laws in the nation in tandem with formidable castle doctrine and stand-your-ground laws, Florida is a great place to be if you are a defensively minded citizen.

Naturally their laws concerning pepper sprays and other self-defense sprays are likewise very relaxed.

Concerning civilian ownership of such sprays, Florida categorizes them as “self-defense chemical sprays”, a category that is distinct from “tear gas guns” or legitimate chemical weapons (which are not allowed for civilian ownership).

Self-defense chemical sprays are further defined as any device carried solely for the purposes of lawful self-defense that is of a compact size, and is furthermore designed to be carried on or about the person.

Devices in this category also cannot contain more than 2 oz. of chemical. This naturally rules out larger riot size canisters as well as canisters containing otherwise legal chemical spray ingredients that are intended for self-defense against bears or other animals.

Speaking of chemicals, Florida permits citizens to utilize any formulation they think best so long as it is intended for self-defense purposes and inflicts no permanent injury. OC, or genuine pepper sprays, are okay as are both formulations of tear gas, CN and CS. Blends of any or all of these chemicals are also permitted.

Lastly, self-defense chemical sprays may be carried openly or concealed with no permit required whatsoever within the boundaries of the state.

One should keep in mind though that any aggressive or threatening display of a self-defense chemical spring could be construed as assault or even aggravated assault, so don’t go flashing it around to settle arguments or using it on anyone unless you are in a legitimate self-defense situation.

Conclusion

Florida is a solidly dependable state when it comes to pepper sprays and other self-defense sprays, with no restriction whatsoever on the type of formula, including blends, and a generous allowance of 2 oz. of chemical that may be carried on or about the person.

This is somewhat disappointing considering the states highly permissive nature regarding firearms but there is little to complain about.

Relevant State Statutes

790.001 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, except where the context otherwise requires:

(…)

(3)(a) “Concealed weapon” means any dirk, metallic knuckles, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.

(b) “Tear gas gun” or “chemical weapon or device” means any weapon of such nature, except a device known as a “self-defense chemical spray.” “Self-defense chemical spray” means a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical.

(…)

790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) This section does not apply to:

(a) A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870. As used in this subsection, the term “in the act of evacuating” means the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered. The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.

(b) A person who carries for purposes of lawful self-defense, in a concealed manner:

1. A self-defense chemical spray.

2. A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.

(4) This section does not preclude any prosecution for the use of an electric weapon or device, a dart-firing stun gun, or a self-defense chemical spray during the commission of any criminal offense under s. 790.07, s. 790.10, s. 790.23, or s. 790.235, or for any other criminal offense.

790.07 Persons engaged in criminal offense, having weapons.

(1) Whoever, while committing or attempting to commit any felony or while under indictment, displays, uses, threatens, or attempts to use any weapon or electric weapon or device or carries a concealed weapon is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) Whoever, while committing or attempting to commit any felony, displays, uses, threatens, or attempts to use any firearm or carries a concealed firearm is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, and s. 775.084.

(3) The following crimes are excluded from application of this section: Antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, nonsupport of dependents, bigamy, or other similar offenses.

(…)

790.053 Open carrying of weapons.

(1) Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device. It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.

(2) A person may openly carry, for purposes of lawful self-defense:

(a) A self-defense chemical spray.

(b) A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.

(3) Any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.

(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.

(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

776.031 Use or threatened use of force in defense of property.

(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.

(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

776.08 Forcible felony.

Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

784.021 Aggravated assault.

(1) An “aggravated assault” is an assault:

(a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or

(b) With an intent to commit a felony.

(2) Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

784.03 Battery; felony battery.

(1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:

1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or

2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who commits battery commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) A person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery and who commits any second or subsequent battery commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. For purposes of this subsection, “conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or a trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or a plea of nolo contendere is entered.

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