Two popular forms of self-defense are stun guns or electric incapacity devices also known as tasers and number two is OC spray or pepper spray. Let’s talk about each one of them in regards to the laws in PA.
When it comes to stun guns, at first blush it’s going to look like in Pennsylvania that you can’t use them. That’s because you may have Googled and you looked at prohibitive offensive weapons law in Pennsylvania. When you read it you may believe that you cannot have a stun gun or taser. That’s just not so.
Stun guns are classified as prohibitive offensive weapons when used in an offensive capacity, meaning that you are looking to hurt someone for the sake of hurting them or during the course of another crime. That’s when it would be potentially illegal use as a prohibitive offensive weapon. However, if it is used for self-defense purposes, then you can use it and you can possess that stun gun or electric incapacity device.
When it comes to OC spray many people carry it as a less than lethal option. OC is by definition considered to be less than lethal if you use it as designed. That means that it’s either a spray, a foam or a mist and it’s used in that way. If you instead use the canister to bludgeon someone in the head, then it can be considered lethal deadly force, because in that context it’s capable of serious bodily injury or causing death under some extreme circumstances.
With OC spray, there are location restrictions such as courthouses and other sensitive areas that no weapons are allowed and this would be considered obviously a weapon. The same is true with the stun gun. So those are some considerations that we need to think about when it comes to less than lethal options in PA and how to best defend yourself from a practical and from a legal point of view.