MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds laid the Firearms (Use of Pepper Spray) Order 2021 in the House of Representatives on Friday to lay down the technical details of pepper spray permitted under an amended Firearms Act.
In June the House had followed the Senate’s lead a month before and passed the Firearms (Amendment) Bill 2021, piloted by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. Following public vigils fuelled by outrage over the killing of Ashanti Riley and Andrea Bharatt each abducted in taxis in separate incidents, Al-Rawi said pepper spray would give women and girls “a fighting chance” against assailants. Bharatt vanished on January 29 only to be found dead down a precipice in Aripo on February 4, her fate eerily echoing that of Riley two months before who likewise disappeared after entering a taxi on November 29, only to be found dead on December 4 in bushes in Santa Cruz. Pepper spray will be available to individuals over age 16 who obtain a permit.
The order was made under the Firearms Act and is subject to the negative resolution of Parliament, meaning it stands unless negated by MPs.
It states the “type and strength of pepper spray” and the “volumetric content permitted in a canister of pepper spray.”
It listed two types. The first was pepper spray (fogger or stream) containing Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) but not Chloroacetaphenone (CN) or Orthochloro-benzalmalononitrile (CS).
The concentration of Oleoresin Capsicum must be 5-10 per cent and not exceed 5,000,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), with its volume at 2-5 ounces.
The second type was pepper spray (fogger or stream) containing major capsaicinoids but not CN or CS.
The concentration of major capsaicinoids must be between 0.8-1.4 per cent and not exceed 5,000,000 SHUs.