Bill would loosen restrictions on pepper spray salesIt will be easier for people to buy a can of pepper spray to ward off an attacker under a bill introduced this month in the state legislature.
By: Gilman Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
It will be easier for people to buy a can of pepper spray to ward off an attacker under a bill introduced this month in the state legislature.
Wisconsin is one of five states that imposes tight restrictions on the sale and purchase of pepper spray. State Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, is backing a bill that would eliminate most of those restrictions. A spokesman for Lasee's office, Robert Kovach, says the state’s current regulations prevent people from buying one of the most popular pepper spray containers. The container is shaped like a cell phone.
“An attacker may think that the person is just going hand them phone that they're demanding, and boom — they can get away,” says Kovash. “[It’s] not available in Wisconsin. They consider that a camouflage container because it looks like something other than a pepper spray container.”
Another backer of the bill, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, says the combination of new laws allowing more people to carry concealed guns and the tight rules on buying pepper spray the state may actually be encouraging more gun violence.
“In some ways they are discouraging people from using [pepper spray], and are kind of making people lean more towards the more lethal method — which would be, of course, using concealed carry and using a hand gun,” says Thiesfeldt.
The bill would also remove the restrictions on buying large cans of pepper spray like those recommended for warding off an attack by a bear. The current rules prevent retail stores from selling such larger cans. If approved, the bill would still require that pepper spray only be used for self-defense and prohibit its use against police officers.