Mass. Pepper Spray Bill Would Do Away With Background Checks And Fees

Lawmakers say they’re confident they will change a Massachusetts law requiring licenses to carry pepper spray.

Massachusetts is the only state with this requirement for pepper spray. Those wishing to carry it must pay a fee and get a background check, but background checks can take a while.

“People are processing applications as fast as they can, but that’s just the way the process works,” says Massachusetts state Rep. Kimberly Ferguson.

Ferguson proposed a bill to get rid of background checks and fees for pepper spray. The bill has failed in the past, but she expects it to finally pass this year.

Wayne Sampson is not so sure. He is the executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. His group supports Ferguson’s proposal, but is not optimistic the bill will become law.

“It’s probably unlikely that the actual laws or proposals from the House of Representatives will contain any corrective language regarding pepper spray,” Sampson says.

This bill has been approved by the House and Senate public safety committees but lawmakers have been waiting for the House Ways and Means committee to approve it since June 2013.