Private Investigations and Personal Security/NJ Pepper Spray Laws


Hi Jason,

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!



 Well, you hit all the people I would have told you to talk to.  The answers you got are about typical, because the law, while seemingly clear, leaves some loopholes in there for 'wiggle room' most of the time, esp. when it comes to buying and selling legal products.  Since there is no law specifically NOT allowing you to sell such items (check with your local township to make sure of that, however), then selling them would be perfectly legal, IMO.  Again, barring any local ordinance or law stating you CANNOT sell such things, you should be ok.  

 That having been said, could you be held liable, civilly, for selling pepper spray to someone who then used it to rob a little old lady or commit some other crime with it?  THAT is where I would go into a 'gray' area.  The answer I'd give to that would be "Possibly".  Make sure that you have business liability insurance, and that it holds you harmless for selling items in 'good faith', to people who are representing themselves as law abiding citizens.

 Hopefully, that helps.  Remember, I'm not a lawyer!  

Best regards,


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Jason Grabill


Legal issues regarding Maryland Private Investigators, Helpful hints, what to know, and who to contact in the Maryland area, general information on Private Investigation, Security Guards, and the 'do's and dont's' of starting your own business in this interesting field.


I am the owner of a Maryland State Licensed Private Investigations and Security Guard company. ( ) I have many years of experience in the investigative, law enforcement, and security field. While my company is new, we are a premier Private Investigations and Security company located in Western Maryland. I have been in Law Enforcement since 1988 and have experience in Military Intelligence, Criminal, Accident, Background, and Sex Crimes Investigations and am an FBI certified Hostage Negotiator.

American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers

Maryland State Police Advanced Crash Investigation Course CSX Grade Crossing Collision Investigation Course Advanced Criminal Investigation School FBI Hostage Negotiation Course USMC Intelligence Specialist Course US Air Force Bio Environmental Engineering Course (22 College credits) Field Training Officer Course Train the Trainer Course

Awards and Honors
Police officer of the Year, Prince Georges County Municipal Police Association, 1995 National Association Chiefs of Police Distinguished Service Award, 1995

Past/Present Clients
Allegheny Power (PATH project) We have clients in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia in both our Security and Private Investigation work.

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