Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Using Wasp Spray For Personal Defense

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved

One of the latest fads to hit the martial arts/personal protection world is using wasp spray instead of pepper spray for personal defense. The reasoning is that wasp spray is cheaper, more easily available, just as effective, and can be sprayed up to 20 ft which allows it to be deployed at a safer distance than pepper spray.

The truth is that wasp spray should only be used as a personal protection weapon as a last resort. Yes, wasp spray is generally cheaper and more easily available to most people than pepper spray but it is not as effective and that fact that it can spray a longer distance is mute because most attacks happen within 5 feet.

Pepper spray inflames the tissues of the face while wasp spray is a poison designed to kill insects. If you get this poison is a person’s mouth or eyes it could prove permanently disabling or even fatal. While pepper spray is a non-lethal self defense weapon, wasp spray, being a poison, could be considered a deadly weapon if you use it against someone or are found carrying it.

Most states have strict laws regulating what a person can carry for their personal protection. In Michigan, where I live, a person can carry pepper spray as long as it contains 2% or less of the active ingredient oleoresin capsicum (OC). Carrying a different spray for self defense would be against the law.

Not only that, most products carry a label that states: "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." So carrying it for personal defense could get you charged with a federal crime not to mention using it for self defense. Granted, if you are attacked in your home and the only thing you have in your reach to use as a weapon is wasp spray than you should use it and the law would be out of their mind to prosecute you (unless you live in England where people have little to no right to their own defense).

In short forget about using wasp spray and carry pepper spray which is safe, proven effective (as long as it is actually pepper spray with the active ingredient being “OC” or “red pepper” and NOT mace), and legal.


Randall Finstad said...

Could someone state how many have been been prosecuted for using wasp spray in a self defense situation? Improper use of a forklift is a federal offense, as well as stealing mail from a mail box. Give us a break!

matthew schafer said...

I have no statistics on how many people have been prosecuted for using wasp spray for self-defense but I imagine it is, at most, a small handful of people if anyone at all.

If someone was attacking in their own home and grabbed a can of wasp spray of the kitchen counter and used it against their attackers there probably is little, if any, chance of them being prosecuted for anything. However, and here is the distinction, if someone decided to carry a can of wasp spray on their person instead of pepper spray and used it as such they could be prosecuted. It really depends on the prosecutor.

I'm not sure what the mention of the forklift or stealing mail has to do with anything, but I believe I've address your comment thoroughly.

Twiz said...

True that no one has been prosecuted, but at the same time how often do people have a can of wasp spray in their hand as a defensive weapon? Not very often I wouldn't think. I would also but much more afraid of being sued by the owner of a loose dog or by the assailant for using an illegal weapon on them...subjecting you to damages if say you blind the person or the animal. Use the right tool for the right job and things just tend to go better.