Aircraft and pepper spray do not mix!

I recently had a commercial plane trip to Tennessee and waited in one of those really long lines waiting for my luggage and myself to get through the security of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Now, even though I have a registered gun, I don't carry it, even with a valid license, because I know it's illegal to carry it on board a commercial airplane. But I can pack it in checked luggage (and TSA explains that I have to declare it when checking the ticket / bag), always with a gun locked and unloaded and ammunition also locked.

I waited in line reading my email. I offered my time, as did the other 75 people online.

Like everyone else, I took my shoes off, my hat removed, my belt removed, and all my valuables from the pockets that I put in my plastic bag that I brought and carried with me when I was traveling by plane, just for this special TSA security check.

I went through the metal detector without any difficulty. However, the security officer noticed my pepper spray and three-quarter-inch pocket knife. I was kindly advised that pepper spray and pocket knife were not permitted under TSA rules.

Now don't get me wrong, the TSA security officers were very kind and actually gave me the choice to pick up items to lock them in or in my car if I had one at the airport. (I actually took a taxi the other day so it was off immediately) and I will also lose my queue and take another half hour to get back across the line to where I was at that point in time. The other option was to confiscate my pepper spray and a very small pocket knife.

Instead of taking more time, I decided to confiscate my pocket knife and pepper spray. As a retired state police officer and crime prevention expert, I found myself very embarrassed knowing that I had to understand the TSA rules and what was prohibited. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The TSA security officer told me, "Sir, you are just one of the thousands of people we confiscate from them weekly." In some ways, it didn't make me feel better, but I was able to keep going and let the next person handle his or her own personal situation.

In fact, I had an extra pepper spray (less than 4 Fl. Oz. Each) housed in my checked luggage and knew I would have them available once I reached my final destination. However, this situation made me think that it would make a good article for others so that they did not have to go through what I went through mixing pepper spray with a TSA safety review of commercial airlines.

Pepper spray has become an extremely popular tool for self-defense over the last ten years. The reader should contact customer service for your own airline or TSA if you have questions about the legality of wearing pepper spray for them anywhere in the world. Pepper spray is legal in most states of the United States of America, but I recommend that you consult your local authority about the lawfulness in your area.

In particular, the TSA on their website,, states the following: "Tear gas – Self-defense sprays containing more than 2% by weight of tear gas (CS or CN) are prohibited." "Mace / Pepper Spray – One 118 ml container of mace or black pepper spray is allowed in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental ejection." For more information, visit, click Travelers, and then click Flight Preparation.

Please visit these websites as they provide much more detail about what is prohibited and what is legal. It can prevent a potential "headache".

In summary, I would recommend that everyone take a few minutes to call your airlines and make sure that both your departure and your destination allow for specific questionable positions. As suggested above, I will also contact the TSA to determine if they have any restrictions on deactivating chemicals or other potentially prohibited articles or agents.

Laws change in history, and it's better to understand and then get confused at the airlines' terminal. Click here to learn more about pepper spray,