Pepper spray sales don't need background check


POSTED: Thursday, March 18, 2010

Question: What is the pepper spray law in Hawaii anyway? Is there a concentration limit or something like that? I heard it was legal to have/carry pepper spray. I moved here from Maui 10 months ago and my house has been broken into twice already. I have a felony DUI in California so I am not privileged to own a firearm. I have been thinking about pepper spray, but do not want to buy any until I know the law.

Answer: If you are 18 or older, it is legal for you to buy pepper spray for self-defense from a licensed retailer, under Section 41-37 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu.

There are no restrictions on people with a previous criminal conviction, including felonies, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

We also checked with a gun shop in Honolulu and were told that they are required to check IDs to make sure a person is at least 18 years old and to record the sale of the pepper spray, but otherwise do not do any background check as they do for firearms sales.

Pepper spray is defined as any aerosol container or other device designed to fit into a handbag or a pants pocket and has a trigger-guard, flip top or other mechanism to prevent the accidental release of the spray; that emits only oleoresin capsicum or a derivative; and that contains a nonflammable propellant and/or carrier.

It is illegal to use pepper spray for any purpose except in self-defense, in defense of another person, or to protect your or someone else's property.

There is nothing in the law specifying concentration levels of the oleoresin capsicum, which is the product of a process that begins with an extraction from peppers.

Much of the Honolulu law deals with the seller, who not only has to be licensed but has to provide a briefing about the spray before completing the sale, including proper use and disposal of the spray, and its limitations; get a signed acknowledgment from the purchaser that a briefing was given; post a copy of the license; and keep records of pepper sprays sold or distributed for at least five years.

Violators face a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and/or one year in prison.


Recycle Phone books

Instead of just tossing unwanted or old phone books into the trash, or waiting until next year to recycle them through Hawaiian Telcom, take them to be recycled at Kokua Market, 2643 S. King St., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

The business, in partnership with Hagadone Printing, will accept glossy magazines, catalogs, flyers, junk mail and phone books for recycling. Those who bring in recyclables will get a coupon for a free oatcake and coffee at the event.

No cardboard, paperboard or newspapers will be accepted. See for more information.

Or take the directories to Hagadone Printing, 274 Puuhale Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, or 8 a.m. to noon the second Saturday of each month. They can also be dropped off at any Lex Brodie's location during business hours or at the Haleiwa Farmers' Market the first Sunday of each month.

In addition to phone books, the company accepts glossy magazines, catalogs, brochures and mailers for recycling. Call 847-5310 or go to for information.

Write to ”;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).