H.2288 "An Act Relative to Increasing Accesibility to Non Lethal Self Defense Sprays"

Just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday break, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security favorably released H.2288 “An Act Relative to Increasing Accessibility to Non-lethal Self Defense Sprays”. The bill was filed by Representative Tim Toomey of Cambridge. The bill essentially does away with all of the licensing requirements for “pepper spray” in Massachusetts.

The legislation does set an age limit of 18 years old for purchase and possession and there are some penalties for violations. There is also a section that provides for penalties to those who use pepper spray in an offensive manner. Section 11: “Whoever except in the lawful defense of life or property, willfully discharges chemical mace, pepper spray or other similarly propelled liquid, gas or powder designed to temporarily incapacitate, with the intent to accost or annoy another person shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.”

H.2288 does require that anyone under a protection order (209A) surrender any “chemical mace, pepper spray or other similarly propelled liquid, gas or powder designed to temporarily incapacitate”.

The only part of the legislation that needs to be fixed regards the age limit of 18 years old. Currently the law allows anyone 15 years or older with a Firearm Identification Card to possess pepper spray. If the legislation proceeds, GOAL will work to rectify that gap in the proposed legislation.

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