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I want to carry pepper spray with me when traveling for self-defense purposes only. Is there a way to be allowed to do that or is there any official document that allows me to safely travel with pepper spray? Also wanted to know whether this is allowed through airport security in cabin/checked luggage.

Currently the countries I am interested in are Israel, Prague and Estonia.

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What is it that you are planning to visit in any of those places that you think you might need it? Israel is safe all over the place, to my knowledge so is Estonia. Prague I haven't been but I don't see that being a mugging haven. –  Karlson Feb 18 '12 at 17:20
    
You want to take it on the plane and carry it in just these three places? –  hippietrail Feb 18 '12 at 17:22
    
Prague is pretty safe as well - same as any city: there would be some areas you wouldn't go, but it is very tourist friendly. –  Rory Alsop Feb 19 '12 at 12:51
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Are you experienced in using pepper spray? I find most first time users normally end up spraying themselves as well as there attacker, and like all weapons can be used against you by a skilled attacker. I have always found it's just better to stay out of situations if you feel you need to carry a weapon to stay safe. –  Stuart Feb 19 '12 at 15:18
    
@Stuart: It's one of the best defenses against dangerous animals though, even if you hit yourself as well. –  Michael Borgwardt Feb 21 '12 at 8:57

5 Answers 5

As can be seen from Wikipedia, the legality even in European countries varies greatly from country to country.

In Latvia, Estonia's neighbour, for example, pepper spray in canisters is classified as a self-defense device and can be bought and carried by anyone over 16 years of age. Pepper spray handguns can be bought and carried without any license by anyone over 18.

Unfortunately there's no indication there of sources for Estonia, or Israel.

However, it does include the Czech Republic (Prague):

In the Czech Republic, pepper spray is not classified as weapon and its possession is legal.

Moving to different sources, this site also has a list of countries and the legality of pepper spray, and it DOES have Israel:

In Israel, OC(Oleoresin Capsicum) and CS(capsicum spray) spray cans may be purchased by any member of the public without restriction and carried in public. In the 1980s a firearms license was required for doing so, but since then these sprays have been deregulated.

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I can confirm that 1) you can have a pepper spray with you, Czech law is quite vague on these things, 2) you do not really need it. The biggest conflict you can get into is getting pick-pocketted (when pepper spray won't help you), but in general Prague is a safe town (it got really better during the last decade I would say). –  tohecz Oct 1 '12 at 13:08

I've travelled from Germany to Mexico (via Atlanta) and Australia (via HongKong) with pepper spray in checked luggage without any problems. The TSA regulations say:

Self Defense Sprays - One 4 ounce (118ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self Defense Sprays containing more than 2% by mass of Tear Gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in Checked Baggage.

It's not allowed in carry-on baggage, of course.

Update: The same can of pepper spray was confiscated when I took it to Canada. I declared it on the immigration form as required; otherwise I would probably have incurred a fine if it had been found in a random baggage check. The customs officer told me that in order to be legal in Canada, pepper spray must be explicitly labelled as "for use against wild animals".

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I could be wrong on this account but I think that the only document that will allow you to carry pepper spray into a plane might be international law enforcement credentials. Save that it will most likely to be confiscated during check-in. Especially so in Israel. Your best bet if you want to have it while you are in the country is to buy one locally.

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I don't think a pepper spray will be confiscated if it is in a checked-in baggage. A suggestion for buying locally is great, thou. –  John Doe Feb 19 '12 at 14:13

Pepper Spray is prohibited in several countries, for example Singapore. Reason why is that Pepper Spray not only can be used for self defense, but also to help committing crime.

You should carefully check the law in your country of destination.

Alternatively you can start invest some time to learn some self-defense martial art. :)

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In Canada, many hikers carry bear spray, which is essentially a form of pepper spray to guard against black bears, grizzlies and other animals they may come across. So that's legally permitted here.

Bear attack deterrent spray

From the article as well:

Bear mace is legal across the USA. It can be purchased even in Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts or Wisconsin, where standard pepper sprays are illegal.

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I'm not sure you'd want to lug that thing around, though. There is a smaller version, advertised as dog spray, that you could carry in your pocket. When I bought bear spray and dog spray, I was required to show ID and give my name and address. That was a few years ago, so maybe the rules have changed. By the way, I've never used either of my two sprays! –  Byron Schmuland Oct 2 '12 at 19:42

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