A Young Voices Op-Ed Just Saved Lives


A Young Voices op-ed just led to the passage of an emergency resolution by the DC City Council clarifying that online retailers can legally sell pepper spray to residents of America's capital city. It is no exaggeration to say that this likely saved lives in the future, as pepper spray is one of the most common forms of self-defense, and most Americans shop online.

The author of the op-ed, Sofia Hamilton, just shared her story on LinkedIn:

As of today, I can officially say that I have influenced policy!

Several months ago, I angrily wrote an article after Amazon refused to ship pepper spray to my DC apartment. After doing a lot of digging through the DC Code and talking to DC Council staffers, I found that many online retailers are misinformed on DC’s pepper spray regulations. It is totally legal to purchase pepper spray in the nation’s capital.

I, and many other people, find it necessary to carry pepper spray at all times—especially as crime rates rise in cities throughout the country. And I was just not okay with the fact that Washingtonians (most of whom do not have cars and rely on online retailers for their shopping needs) could not get their hands on a necessary and safe self defense tool. I am so thankful that this won’t be the case anymore.

The article came across the desk of DC Councilmember Christina Henderson. Yesterday, she introduced an emergency resolution to clarify the legal status of pepper spray in the District. It passed 9-1!

People often ask me, "Casey, what impact does an op-ed realistically have in changing public policy?" Amid all the media noise, it's easy to be pessimistic about the difference one voice can make. But, Sofia's just made a real-life impact, and Young Voices is empowering 100+ more leaders like her every year.

We are making a difference for liberty, not just in the future, but also in the present.

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Casey Given

Executive Director

Young Voices