This is NOT legal advice!!!! Contact an experienced attorney for advice on non-lethal or less-lethal devices!!!!
Before we begin, let's dispel a common myth. There is NO SUCH THING AS NON-LETHAL FORCE!!!!!
If you apply any level of force to stop an assailant there is ALWAYS A CHANCE THAT DEATH MAY RESULT.
Chemical sprays can invoke an allergic reaction which might cause respiratory arrest. Tasers® and stun guns (electronic discharge weapons) can interfere with the heart or neurological pathways which might cause cardiac arrest or some other fatal event. If you push an assailant away they might trip, fall and break their neck.
Force varies by level, but it's still force. Force that results in death can send you to jail and/or expose you to civil actions
So, there is NO SUCH THING AS NON-LETHAL FORCE!!!
Additionally, these non lethal options will vary in effectiveness even if properly deployed. YouTube is filled with examples of people subjected to these devices without being affected enough to stop them.
We'll break this discussion up into chemical deterrents and electrical but we're not covering things like clubs or other striking weapons. We're only interested in things we can use regardless of our personal strength limitations.
Electronic Discharge Weapons
These generally come in one of two forms.
Stun guns which are contact devices. These are the original electronic discharge weapon. You press the contacts against the assailant and press the button. The assailant is then subjected to a stunning electrical charge. There are two problems with these types of devices:
You have to be close enough to touch them to use it. Remember, the last thing we want is to let someone close enough to grab us.
If the assailant jerks away, contact is lost and the assailant may resume the attack.
Colorado law is silent on these devices unless they are used in the commission of a crime.
At the state level, you may carry one of these devices in any manner you desire. However since there are no laws at the state level, individual jurisdictions (towns, cities, counties such as Boulder, Burlington, Larimer County, Lafayette, Milliken, Parker, Minturn, Pueblo, Eagle and Thornton) are free to implement their own restrictions. You will not have the same protections that you would had you been carrying a hand gun.
Since a stun gun is NOT called out in the definition of deadly, dangerous or illegal weapons we must err on the side of caution and suggest that you consider them to be deadly weapons. People have died as a result of being stunned. Is not an expected outcome, but it is worth keeping in mind.
There are several variants of these devices, but the most common is a form of pepper spray.
You are supposed to spray it in the face of an assailant which is supposed to give you an opportunity to flee.
They can also invoke an allergic reaction which could result in death!
Colorado law is silent on not only the use of these devices but anything about them at all.
As with stun guns, local jurisdictions are free to implement their own restrictions.
A word of extreme caution.
Some sprays have a flammable propellant (like butane). If you spray some one then they are exposed to a spark (like a stun gun) or a flame, the spray on their body or in their clothes may catch on fire.
These sprays get weak over time. Replace yours at least once a year just to be sure.