For Coastie and Tom-not exactly "hogwash"--from just below--
Massachusetts (the seat of the American Revolution!) is so unfriendly to any sort of self defense that it's also illegal to carry pepper spray without a permit. I used to visit a Jeeper friend in MA periodically to go junkyard hopping. I was expecting to be buying parts, so I was carrying cash, and I didn't have a MA CCW permit so I knew I couldn't carry a firearm. Like the people who get nailed in NYC for guns, I was naive enough to expect that pepper spray, being a purely defensive "weapon," was A-okay.
Then I happened to mention it in a discussion on a Jeep forum, and a Jeeper who is a (or was then) a police officer in MA chimed in and kindly informed me that I had committed a felony offense. I checked it out and, by golly, he was right.
The citizenry is NOT allowed to defend itself in Massachusetts. Interestingly, Massachusetts is one of the few states with a constitution that contains a RKBA clause but limits the RKBA only to the defense of the commonwealth.