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Pols pitch potent pepper spray

MADISON (WRN)  Lawmakers hold public hearing on loosening the regulations on pepper spray.

Pepper spray is a non-lethal alternative to firearms for self-defense, so says state Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac). Wisconsin has concealed carry and Castle doctrine laws, and the Fond du Lac Republican tells members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during a public hearing that it’s logical to revise the pepper spray regulations.

“So, because the rules on pepper spray are so narrow and restrictive, one might be more likely to use a firearm rather than the non-lethal pepper spray. So, it isn’t reasonable to prohibit people from protecting themselves with this non-lethal product.”

Thiesfeldt says by making pepper spray canisters easier to obtain, and with a higher percentage of active ingredient, the incidents of firearm-use for defensive purposes would be reduced.

Thiesfeldt argues pepper spray is often just as effective as a gun in stopping an attack, but without causing serious injury. “In locations where concealed carry is restricted, such as public buildings, citizens should have a broad range of alternative defensive options.”

A member of Senator Frank Lasee’s (R-DePere) staff describes current regulations as over-reaching, over-the-top, and burdensome. Thiesfeldt says citizens should be able to choose what size and potency they want to purchase. “It can only be used for self-defense, it cannot be used on peace officers, and it cannot be used, obviously, in a commission of a crime.”

He says Wisconsin is one of only two states in the country putting a limit on the potency of the spray. Nobody testified against the measure.