I was speaking at a law enforcement conference in New York, introducing and demonstrating the TigerLight Non-lethal Defense System flashlight to a group of police officers from local agencies.
One of them said, “What do you think of our local laws concerning the sale of pepper spray to civilians? Aren’t you afraid the bad guys will use the TigerLight?”
Of course, I knew of the strange New York law requiring people to purchase pepper spray from a licensed gun dealer. I knew they had to fill out a form with all their information so the state can be sure they are over 18, have never committed a felony or any assault crime in the state or any other state.
The law seemed to imply great concern that criminals might gain access to pepper spray and use it rather than guns, knives, baseball bats, tire irons, bombs, bazookas or hands and fists, to commit crimes.
HOW TERRIBLE WOULD THAT BE?
So, I responded. “HMMM. Let me think about that. I think the state should donate TigerLights to all the criminals so they will use pepper spray rather than guns, knives and fists.”
Laughter erupted. Some loudly and others, sheepishly.
I do understand that a couple guys stayed up really late to formulate this legislation. Perhaps they should have gotten more sleep, but that’s just a thought. I’m sure they meant well. I’m sure they were not trying to prevent our wives, daughters and mothers from carrying pepper spray in case they get attacked by a bad guy who wants to rape them.
I have not heard of many criminals using pepper spray to commit crimes, but I do know that hundreds of women are raped every day. Maybe they are worried that the bad guy will spray the woman before raping her. That would take a REALLY stupid rapist.
In fact, I know of a woman who was about to be raped by five guys. She did not think she had enough spray to stop them all, so she sprayed her own naked body with pepper spray and her would-be gang rapists left without raping her, so that probably wasn’t what motivated this unusual law.
The truth is, they allow pepper spray to be purchased online as long as the label says it is for use against dogs or other vicious animals, including bears, unless it’s Yogi or BooBoo, but they are not a threat. unless you take your eye off your picnic basket.
Of course, we know New York City is overrun with bears and other wild animals, so we must make pepper spray readily available and easy to get online, for those bears and other wild animals.
I wonder what would happen if someone was jogging along and a guy with a dog attacked the person and the person tried real hard only to spray the dog, but some got on the person and it stopped him, too.
Would they look it up and find out that the victim used pepper spray on the person and that pepper spray was purchased online and intended only for dogs? I can imagine the brutal interrogation that might bring upon that poor victim, the jail time and the fines. I bet he or she will regret the day he or she was attacked!
What if there was not even a dog involved? What if a girl was just jogging through the park and a guy jumped in front of her and said, “I’m going to rape you! Don’t resist if you know what’s good for you!” Heaven forbid, he might even have pepper spray and spray her first!
Oh…maybe not. I think we determined that would not be very smart.
But what would she do? She couldn’t spray him, could she? It’s only meant for wild animals or dogs, not violent rapists and killers. I guess she would have to put it away until the bad guy was done. Then, if she were still able, she could drive four hours, maybe less, to a licensed gun dealer and purchase the same pepper spray in the same can with a different label. Maybe the formula is slightly less or slightly more potent, but it would not say Dog Repellent on it. That’s important.
Or, if you want to buy pepper spray online, even in huge canisters with spray every bit as strong as the “for human” spray you cannot buy, maybe even stronger and MUCH larger, you can order sprays for dogs or sprays for bears. You don’t even have to drive to a licensed gun dealer and fill out a form verifying that you are not a felon and have not committed any assault crimes. You still have to be 18, but that won’t be a problem for most of you.
Should we be concerned that the criminals might figure out that they can go online and buy the same pepper spray in a giant can, that sprays 30 feet, as long as it says it is for bears and not for humans? You don’t think they would break the law, while committing a crime…do you?
I’m sure they would never think of breaking the law and using that giant can of spray to help commit a crime, so we should all be safe knowing they would not do that, right?
In any event, what we should all be really, terribly concerned about is a criminal getting his hands on a little, tiny can of pepper spray and using it in place of guns, knives and fists, or BIG cans of pepper spray! It could spread to the cartel, then all heck would break loose! Can you imagine if the cartels had pepper spray! Holy cow! It would be Armageddon!
Those of us trying to save innocent lives MUST BE STOPPED!
Here is the law: OBEY IT.
New York State Penal Law Exemption of Weapons Law §265. Sale of "self-defense spray device" Section §265.20 Exemptions
14. Possession in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph of a self-defense spray device as defined herein for the protection of a person or property and use of such self-defense spray device under circumstances which would justify the use of physical force pursuant to article thirty-five of this chapter.
(a) As used in this section "self-defense spray device" shall mean a pocket sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air or any like device containing tear gas, pepper or similar disabling agent.
(b) The exemption under this paragraph shall not apply to a person who:
(i) is less than eighteen years of age; or
(ii) has been previously convicted in this state of a felony or any assault; or
(iii) has been convicted of a crime outside the state of New York which if committed in New York would constitute a felony or any assault crime.
For the best, most effective non-lethal defense, go to www.tigerlight.net. If you are in New York, you will have to contact tigerlight at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update you on available options, if any. Please do not order pepper spray to be sent to New York. We cannot send it to you. You can only order the D.A.D. for New York, without pepper spray, only the inert practice spray. Stay safe.
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