Pepper Spray EU legislation

Austria: Pepper spray is classified as a self-defense device.Pepper sprays may be owned and carried by adults without registration or permission.
Justified use against humans as self-defense is allowed.
Police also encourage vulnerable groups like pensioners and women to carry pepper spray.

Belgium: Pepper spray is classified as a prohibited weapon.
Possession is illegal for anyone other than police officers, police agents (assistant police officers), security officers of public transport companies and customs officers to carry a capsicum spray. is also authorised after obtaining permission from the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Czech Republic: Possession is legal.

Police also encourage vulnerable groups like pensioners and women to carry pepper spray.

Carrying during demonstrations and into court buildings is illegal.

Croatia: Pepper spray is legal and can be carried by anyone over the age of 16.

Denmark: Possession is still illegal for private citizens, but The Danish government has drafted a bill that would legalise the use possession of pepper spray in the home in 2019. The proposal would allow residents to use pepper spray to protect themselves in the home, for example to ward off intruders. Pepper spray would also be allowed outside the home in some situations, such as when someone has been a victim of stalking or is deemed to face a concrete threat of attack from an ex-partner or family member. As of 2008, police officers began to carry pepper spray as part of their standard equipment.

France: It is legal for anyone over the age of 18 to buy a pepper spray in an armoury or military surplus store. It is classified as a Category 6 Weapon in French law.

Take into account the following restrictions :

- Has to be composed of CS gas (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile or o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile)

- Concentration must be less than 2% CS gas

- Can not contain more than 100 ml (3 oz – the size of an airplane carryon liquid)

- Spray rate cannot exceed 60 grams per second

You can carry pepper spray with you, but you have to respect certain conditions.

First off, when you carry the pepper spray around with you, it has to be concealed, and it also has to have a safety or something to prevent you from using it right away. In other words, you can’t carry it around in your hand ready to spray, or put it on your belt loop. If it’s small and looks like it could be a lipstick, I would probably recommend putting it in your pocket and having your hand on it.

​There are three rules for using self-defense in France.

First, that you have to respond to the attack, which means that someone actually has to try to assault you or steal something from you before you can use the pepper spray legally. Otherwise, you’re the one doing the assaulting.

Second, you have to respond to an attack using “appropriate force.” France is no Florida, and you can’t shoot a man from behind because he punched you once or looked like he was going to. Don’t Stand Your Ground. You also have an obligation to try to run and get away if you can.

If someone attacks you with their fists, using the pepper spray or punching back would be an appropriate response, while shooting him wouldn’t be. And you can be accused of using “excessive violence” if you continue defending yourself once the attacker has been subdued.

Third, you’re only allowed to respond in the moment, and you can’t take revenge. So if someone steals your iPhone today, you can’t spray him when you see him next week. Just get the police.

Finland: Possession of pepper spray requires a license.
Licenses are issued for defensive purposes and to individuals working jobs where such a device is needed such as the private security sector.
However, the Finnish Supreme Court has recently ruled in KKO:2010:7 that owning a pepper spray is in itself not a punishable act; but, on the other hand, carrying one can be punished as a device capable of harming other people.

Germany: Pepper sprays labeled for the purpose of defense against animals may be owned and carried by anyone (even minors). Such sprays are not legally considered as weapons.
Carrying it at (or on the way to and from) demonstrations may still be punished.

Sprays that are not labelled "animal-defence spray" or do not bear the test mark of the Materialprüfungsanstalt [de] (MPA, material testing institute) are classified as prohibited weapons.

Justified use against humans as self-defense is allowed.

CS sprays bearing a test mark of the MPA may be owned and carried by anyone over the age of 14.

Greece: Such items are Illegal. They will be confiscated and possession may result in detention and arrest.
Sprays that are not labelled "animal-defence spray" or do not bear the test mark of the Materialprüfungsanstalt (MPA, material testing institute) are classified as prohibited weapons.

Hungary: Such items are reserved for law enforcement (including civilian members of the auxiliary police).
Civilians may carry canisters filled with maximum 20 grams of any other lachrymatory agent.
However, there is no restriction for pepper gas pistol cartridges.

Ireland: Possession of this spray by persons other the Garda Síochána (national police) is an offence under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Italy: Any citizen over 16 years of age without a criminal record could possess, carry and purchase any OC-based compounds and personal defence devices that respond to the following criteria:
Containing a payload not exceeding 20 ml., with a percentage of Oleoresin Capsicum not exceeding 10% and a maximum concentration of capsaicin and capsaicinoid substances not exceeding 2,5%;
Containing no flammable, corrosive, toxic or carcinogenic substances, and no other aggressive chemical compound than OC itself;
Being sealed when sold and featuring a safety device against accidental discharge;
Featuring a range not exceeding 3 metres.

Latvia: Pepper spray is classified as a self-defense device.It can be bought and carried by anyone over 16 years of age. Pepper spray handguns can be bought and carried without any license by anyone over 18.

Malta: It is illegal for use by the general public.
There have been cases where the police force has been provided with it.

The Netherlands: It is Illegal for civilians to own and carry pepper spray.
Only police officers trained in the specific use of pepper spray are allowed to carry and use it against civilians and animals.

Norway: It is illegal for civilians.
Police officers are allowed to carry pepper spray as part of their standard equipment.

Poland: Called precisely in Polish Penal Code "a hand-held disabling gas thrower", sprays are considered a weapon. They can be carried by anyone over 18 without further registration or permission.

Portugal: Civilians who do not have criminal records are allowed to get police permits to purchase from gun shops, carry, and use OC sprays with a maximum concentration of 5%. CS is considered a weapon and is not permitted. Police carry OC sprays of higher concentration.

Romania: Pepper spray is legal except at sportive and cultural events, public transportation and entertainment locations (according to Penal Code 2012, art 372, (1), c).

Russia: It is classified as a self-defense weapon and can be carried by anyone over 18.

Usage against humans is legal.OC is not the only legal agent used. CS, CR, PAM (МПК), and (rarely) CN are also legal and highly popular.

Serbia: Pepper spray is legal under the new law as of 2016 and can be carried by anyone over the age of 16. Use against humans in self-defence is legal.

Slovakia: It is classified as a self-defense weapon. It is available to anyone over 18.
The police recommend its use.

Spain: Approved pepper spray made with 5% CS is available to anyone older than 18 years.
OC pepper spray, recently adopted for some civilian use (e.g., one of 22 grams, with no registration DGSP-07-22-SDP, is approved by the Ministry of Health and Consumption).

Sweden: Pepper spray falls under firearm laws, so requires weapons licence and essentially always illegal to carry in public or private. Issued as supplementary service weapon to police
It may be carried only by police officers, prison officers, some security officers, and soldiers actively serving in the armed forces.

Switzerland: Pepper spray in Switzerland is subject to the Chemicals Legislation. It may only be distributed to buyers above 18 years of age and against ID evidence. Self-service is not permitted and the customer ought to be made aware of safe storage, use and disposal. The vendor needs to possess the "Know-how for the distribution of particularly hazardous chemicals". Potential mailing has to be shipped as registered courier with the remark "to addressee only". The products must be classified and labelled at least as irritant (Xi;R36/37). Regulations for aerosol packages need to be observed. Sprays with greenhouse relevant propellants such as R134a (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluorethan) are banned. Spray products for self-defense with irritants such as CA, CS, CN, CR are considered as weapons in terms of the gun control law. The weapon purchase permit as well as the weapon carrier permit are required for the purchase of such weapons. In 2009, the Swiss Army introduced for the military personnel the irritant atomizer 2000 (RSG-2000) and is introduced during watch functions. The military bearer permit is granted after passing the half day training.

United Kingdom: Pepper spray is illegal under Section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968: "A person commits an offence if [...] he has in his possession [...] any weapon of whatever description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other thing."

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