Pepper spray should be legalised so that residents can protect themselves from assailants, argues Dansk Folkeparti’s values spokesperson Pia Kjærsgaard.
“Pepper spray is a useful tool for temporarily incapacitating robbers and other violent criminals. It leaves no lasting negative effects so I don’t understand why pepper spray wasn’t legalised long ago,” Kjærsgaard told Politiken newspaper.
She added that it wouldn’t lead criminals to use it more often since, she argues, they already don’t care if weapons are legal or not.
The police union, Politiforbundet, is against the proposal, however, and argues it would only cause more violence.
“As soon as criminals think their victims have pepper spray, they will find the need to protect themselves [against it] which could mean many more assailants could start carrying guns,” union chairman Claus Oxfeldt told Politiken.
He is backed up by the legal spokesperson for the Socialdemokraterne, Trine Bramsen.
No weapons in society
“Weapons should not be a part of the Danish society, regardless of whether it is guns or pepper spray,” Bramsen told Politiken. “If we legalise pepper spray, we are condoning vigilantism as a way to combat threats. It would lead many people to use it even though they hadn’t planned to,” she added.
The debate about pepper spray started in December after a man was beaten and kicked by a gang of youths without provocation on a bus in Copenhagen.
After the attack, TV celebrity Jim Lyngvild announced that the man could have protected himself with pepper spray, and then published a photo on Facebook in which he is seen brandishing a canister of the illegal spray.
Lyngvild was promptly reported to police who visited him at his home, found three canisters of the spray, and charged him with breaking weapons laws.
Kjærsgaard came out in support of Lyngvild, which is not a surprise given that she was convicted of breaking the same law in 2003 after she pulled a canister of pepper spray on a woman who, she said, had threatened her.