Self-Defense and Personal Safety: Options and Restrictions

Know the laws about which self-defense weapons are allowed where you live and travel.


National crime statistics show that approximately 31 million crimes are committed in the United States alone every year. This raises concern for many of us, including average citizens who fear being the victim of a crime, as well as business personnel who may be traveling with expensive items or valuable business assets. Self-defense tools are essential for those who wish to avoid being victimized. There is a wide variety of self-defense tools on the market, from mace or pepper spray to stun guns, allowing you to choose the most appropriate weapon for your needs and circumstances. However, before you make your selection, it is also important for you to know the laws about which weapons are allowed or restricted in the areas where you live, work, and travel.

Below is a list of the most common self-defense weapons offered on the market, pros and cons for using them, and a link to restrictions within the United States and various other nations. Depending on where you live and where you intend to travel with your self-defense weapon, you should conduct your own research to ensure that there are no restrictions for the device you’re carrying and your intended mode of travel. Countries, states, cities, and even some counties, have their own restrictions, and it is the responsibility of each carrier to know and comply with those laws.

Mace and Pepper Spray

Mace and pepper spray are self-defense devices that can briefly incapacitate your attacker. The active ingredient, capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their spiciness, causes swelling, pain, and irritation when sprayed on the face of an attacker. This self-defense weapon is easily carried inside of a purse or bag, or even attached to a keychain, making it easy to transport.


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Low risk to bystanders


  • Only moderately effective self-defense weapon
  • Can affect user if downwind


Tasers, which are also called electroshock or conducted electrical weapons, work by stimulating the motor and sensory nerves of a body, causing the body to contract. A taser puts the body into a stunned state of temporary paralysis but causes no pain. A taser is a larger device that may be slightly more difficult to stow in a handbag, but is still relatively easy to carry on your person.


  • Allowed in some areas where guns are banned
  • Poses little to no risk to bystanders


  • Limited capacity for continued self-defense
  • May have difficulty penetrating through thick clothing
  • May not hold an attacker down for long
  • Good aim is required

Stun Guns

A stun gun functions by sending an electric shock, via direct contact with the skin, into the muscles. This then causes nervous restriction, making the person being stunned become tense, lose balance, and fall to the ground in temporary paralysis due to a loss of muscular control. The shock is also painful. A stun gun generally resembles a standard gun, making it a little more conspicuous to passerby.


  • A more powerful self-defensive option
  • It’s shock causes pain which may be more disabling


  • Direct contact is required
  • Has more restrictions

Blunt or Edged Weapons

A blunt or edged weapon could refer to a knife, a baton, or even a non-weapon that can be used defensively. In order to use one of these objects, you would have to be in close proximity to the attacker and be able to exert force to defend yourself against them. Depending on the type of blunt or edged weapon you carry, this may be easy to conceal, but wielding a real weapon that can do real damage is a much greater responsibility and potential liability for the user.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to acquire


  • Least effective in self-defense
  • Most effort required to incapacitate an attacker

Know the Law

If you are in the market for a self-defense weapon, whether for professional or personal use, knowing the law regarding restrictions of weapons in your area is important. If you are arming your employees or transporters of valuable business assets, yourself, or a family member, you will need to make sure that it will be legal for them to go wherever they need to go with their self-defense tool.

Questions about self-defense, available products, legal restrictions, etc? BrickHouse Security is your partner in all things security and we are here to answer your questions and get you set up with the best tools for your needs.

Published November 17, 2021