Private Investigations and Personal Security/NJ Pepper Spray Laws


Hi Nic,

I am interested in starting a non-lethal self defense product company. My main product will be pepper spray. I'm familiar with the statue which states that it is legal to carry one canister of not more than 3/4 oz of spray for those 18 years and older. I am not able to find anything allowing or disallowing the sale of such items. Can you help?

By the way, I have contacted the NJ State Police, NJ Commerce and Economic Growth Commision and the NJ State Law Library. So far I have been given lots of, "probably and most likely" but not a hard and fast answer.

Thanks so much for your help!


Hi Samee-

New Jersey classifies tear gas (or pepper spray.mace) as a weapon:

New Jersey State Law. New Jersey Stat. Ann. Title 2C. New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. Chapter 39-1.
Prohibited weapons and devices.
(Section "r" summarized from Chapter 2C:39-1) "Weapon" means anything readily capable of lethal use or of
inflicting serious bodily injury. The term includes, but is not limited to all (4) stun guns; and any weapon or
(this section refers to tear gas and has been updated in 1995) other device which projects, releases, or emits
tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury
through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.
(t) "Stun gun" means any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to
temporarily or permanently disable a person.
Senate, No. 2871 -- L.1985, c. 360

Because its classified as a weapon, it may only be sold by licensed gun dealers (that requires a federal license).

Sorry to rain on you parade!

good luck with whatever you decide to do.



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Nichols (Nic) J. Smith


I can answer almost any question with regards to the individual state laws concerning private investigators; best practices and procedures used in private investigations;how to determine if the agency or investigator you are contemplating using is sufficiently qualified to do the work and if an investigation was conducted in accordance with the standards of practice and care used in the professional investigative industry. I can also direct you with regards to doing your own research in certain situations, such as finding someone who owes you money. I can steer you through the database "minefield" with regards to which databases contain useful information and which don't. I can also advise regarding the kind of information that you can legally obtain and what's not legal.


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