Tear gas canisters easily available online - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Tear gas canisters easily available online

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Colorado detectives are still trying to determine the type of gas grenades that were detonated in the Aurora movie theater moments before the attack. Survivors of the massacre say the suspect threw at least two canisters into the auditorium, releasing an irritant that burned their eyes and throat.

They were likely tear gas or pepper spray grenades and while there are strict rules about buying guns, tear gas is another matter.

While pepper spray itself is meant for self-defense, a tear gas canister or pepper spray grenade is another matter.

Dave Hancock works at Bob Moates Sport Shop where he sells several types of pepper spray. He says, pepper spray is the new form of tear gas. It causes more damage and is readily available.

"Pepper spray causes burning eyes, choking, gagging," said Hancock. "All of these items are very effective in defense."

But look online and there's another realm of these devices. Tear gas canisters and pepper spray grenades that are not available in your local sport shop, not meant for civilian hands but are extremely affordable. 

Hancock says he would be suspicious if someone had a tear gas canister. "That's not really a personal defense item. I consider that more of an offense weapon than a defense weapon."

We asked Hancock if he thinks people should show their ID card before buying pepper spray in stores. He says it's not store-bought items you need to worry about - it's the Internet. Anyone can buy anything, and where the unknown is, danger lies.

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