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Use of Tear Gas and Pepper Spray in California

California – Tear Gas/Pepper Spray in California and When May Minors Possess Tear Gas and Liability for Misuse - Penal Code § 22810

In California, people may possess and use “Pepper Spray” and other “Tear Gas Weapons” in self-defense. There are, however, restrictions regarding WHO may possess and use such, and even restrictions regarding the devices themselves.

Penal Code section 22810 discusses both the right, and the restrictions regarding “Tear Gas Weapons”. Although 22810 makes no reference to “Pepper Spray,” California Courts have, for over 50+ years, interpreted “Pepper Spray” to constitute “a Tear Gas Weapon”. (See People v. Autterson (1968) 261 Cal.App.2d 627). “Tear Gas Weapons” also include: PAVA spray, CS gas, CR gas, CN gas, bromoacetone, xylyl bromide, and Mace.

Pursuant to Penal Code section 22810, it is legal to purchase, own and use a tear gas weapon if used solely for self-defense. Tear gas containers must be 2.5 ounces or less is volume. They may be used for your protection against human attackers, most vicious dogs, bears, mountain lions and other wild animals. Tear gas weapons in California must be labeled with a warning stating that the product is only intended for self-defense and can be used in self-defense situations where you fear your life or safety is in danger.

Persons age 16 and older may also possess and use tear gas for self-defense pursuant to Penal Code section 22815. However, Penal Code 22815 requires the minor to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or to have express written parental consent, at the time of purchase. Penal Code section 22815 also makes the accompanying or consenting parent or guardian jointly and severally liable for any civil damages resulting from the minor’s negligent or wrongful use of said tear gas weapon

It is criminal to use tear gas out of anger and/or not in self-defense. Such may result in fines and up three years in state prison. Penal Code § 22810(g)(1). If the use is against a peace officer engaged in the performance of official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is still punishable by up to three years in state prison, however, the minimum punishment is higher, 16 months. Penal Code section 22810(g)(2)

Persons are ineligible to own or possess tear gas as follows:

(a) Those convicted of a felony. Those convicted of any crime involving an assault under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country. Those convicted of misuse of tear gas or tear gas weapons.

(b) Those “addicted to any narcotic drug.”

(c) Those under age 16.

(d) Those age 16 and 17 who do not have parental consent as described in Penal Code 22815.

If you are arrested for possession of tear gas or other weapons charges in Dublin, contact the Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse today at (888) 865-0741 and schedule a free initial consultation.