Is it illegal to use pepper spray for self-defense?

In fact today, many people often equip themselves with pepper spray to protect themselves in emergencies and dangers such as being attacked by bad guys, being robbed, abducted, etc. Is pepper spray illegal?

Is it illegal to use pepper spray for self-defense?

Is it illegal to use pepper spray for self-defense? (Illustration)

1. Does the law allow the use of pepper spray?

According to Clause 11 Article 3 of the Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Support Tools 2017 , pepper spray is one of the supporting tools, specifically:

Means of pepper spray, asphyxiation, poison, anesthetic and itch-causing substances are identified as supporting tools: are professional means used to perform official duties and perform protective duties in order to limit restraining and preventing law-breaking people from fighting back or fleeing; to protect people on duty, who perform security duties or signal an emergency.

In addition, in Clause 1, Article 5 of the 2017 Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Support Tools, it also states:

It is strictly forbidden for individuals to possess weapons, explosives and combat gears, except for rudimentary weapons that are artifacts for display, exhibition, and heirlooms.

Thus, pepper spray is one of the supporting tools that are strictly regulated by the state and authorities for use and management. Therefore, the law does not allow individuals to arbitrarily purchase and use pepper spray.

2. Who is allowed to use pepper spray?

The law only allows certain objects to be equipped with supporting tools, including pepper spray. Accordingly, in Clause 1, Article 55 of the Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Support Tools 2017 stipulates that subjects equipped with combat gears include:

- National Army;

- Militia and self-defense;

- Coast Guard;

- Police;

- Weak muscles;

- The investigating agency of the Supreme People's Procuracy;

- Civil judgment enforcement agencies;

- Forest rangers, full-time forest protection forces, Fisheries control forces, forces directly performing the task of specialized inspection of fisheries;

- Border gate customs, specialized anti-smuggling force of Customs;

- The inspection team of the market management force;

- Aviation security, forces directly performing specialized inspection tasks in transportation;

- Force to protect agencies, organizations and enterprises; security service businesses;

- People's Protection Board;

- Sports clubs, training and coaching establishments with operating licenses;

- Drug addiction treatment establishments;

- Other subjects that need to be equipped with combat gears, based on the nature, requirements and tasks, the Minister of Public Security shall decide.

At the same time, in Clause 1, Article 3 of Circular 17/2018/TT-BCA also stipulates that those equipped with supporting tools include:

- Professional units under the Ministry of Public Security;

- Prisons and detention camps;

- People's Public Security Academy and School; The People's Public Security Training and Retraining Center conducts training and coaching;

- Police of provinces and centrally run cities (hereinafter abbreviated as Provincial Police);

- Police of districts, urban districts, towns and provincial cities;

- Police of communes, wards and townships.

Thus, only those who belong to the above subjects are allowed to use pepper spray as a support tool. Any individual who does not belong to these subjects but arbitrarily uses pepper spray is breaking the law.

3. How much is the illegal use of pepper spray?

Pursuant to Decree 144/2021/ND-CP specifying fines related to illegal possession and use of pepper spray as follows:

- A fine of between VND 3-5 million shall be imposed for carrying around or storing or concealing rudimentary weapons, supporting tools or other tools and means with the potential to cause damage; objects and means of transport for the purpose of disturbing public order, intentionally causing injury to others (Point b, Clause 4, Article 7).

- A fine of between VND 5-10 million shall be imposed for illegally storing and transporting scraps and waste products of weapons and combat gears (Point d, Clause 3, Article 11).

- A fine of between VND 5-10 million shall be imposed for using weapons and combat gears without a license (point d, clause 3, Article 11).

In addition, depending on the nature, severity and consequences of the violation, an individual who illegally uses pepper spray may be examined for penal liability under Article 306 of the Penal Code 2015 on the crime of manufacturing , illegally storing, transporting, using, trading in supporting tools.



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