Byrna Launcher Pepper Spray Gun

Byrna Launchers and Other Pepper Ball Guns

Responsible Florida gun owners know that you must have a CWFL to carry a firearm concealed in most situations. However, it is not quite as clear whether you need a CWFL to carry certain other weapons. (See What Weapons are Covered Under Florida’s CWFL? for more information). For example, a CWFL is not needed to carry a “self-defense chemical spray.” Florida law defines a “self-defense chemical spray” as, “a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical.” Florida Statute § 790.001(3)(b). So, can a person carry a Byrna launcher and other pepper ball gun without a CWFL?

What are Byrna Launchers and Other Pepper Ball Guns?

Byrna Launchers and pepper ball guns are self-defense instruments which fire small balls containing chemical irritants. Many are repurposed paint ball guns.  These guns typically fire projectiles substantial distances and at high speed. They are considered non-lethal self-defense tools. Typically, they have an appearance similar to actual firearms.

Do I Need a CWFL to Carry a Byrna Launcher or Other Pepper Ball Gun?

As mentioned above, a person does not need a CWFL to carry a self-defense chemical spray that is compact in size, contains no more than 2 ounces of chemical, and is carried for self-defense. Unfortunately, Byrna Launchers and other pepper ball guns do not meet this legal requirement. Because these pepper ball launchers are typically a similar shape and quite large for a handgun, they most likely would not be considered compact in size. Further, while each individual ball contains less than 2 ounces of chemical, these launchers are designed to be loaded with multiple projectiles. These launchers are also much more likely to cause substantial injury than a traditional self-defense spray. The projectiles can cause permanent harm if they strike somebody directly in the eyes.

The Florida Attorney General Weighs In

In 1968 the Florida Attorney General was asked to issue an opinion on the legality of a chemical weapn spray device.  The AG Opinion contained a statement that may apply to the pepper spray guns available today.  In the opinion the Attorney General wrote in relevant part, “However, if the tear gas fountain pen or other chemical dispensing device is so constructed as being capable of, or adaptable to, firing projectiles in a solid form that are likely to cause death or great bodily injury, it would be prohibited as a deadly weapon.”  Florida Op. Atty. Gen., 068-103, Sept. 23, 1968. For these reasons, you should not carry a Byrna Launcher or other pepper ball gun without a CWFL.

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