QUOTE(conxtion @ Oct 4 2012, 11:59 AM)
In the US, bear spray is usually only legal for carry in state parks with high risks of bear attacks, which is not a lot of them with the Northern states and Alaska being the exceptions; while pepper spray is legal to carry in most places as a self-defense tool (laws vary by states, counties and cities). For example, it is illegal to carry pepper spray in New York City, but in some other cities in the state of New York, it is legal to carry.
Knife laws vary too by state, county, and city laws and regulations (most of the times institution policies too, for e.g., university institutions). If you're interested in learning but these, just Google "knife laws by states in US" or "pepper spray laws by states" or even "gun laws by states".
I've lived in JB for 17 years growing up, near KL for bout 2 years before furthering my studies in the US. What I've been taught and what I've learn to stay safe or not to get slashed, stabbed or shot is, don't go out after dark, if you have to, avoid quite places, stay in busy areas. Avoid driving in quite, less traveled roads.
I carry a pocket knife while travelling in the US, but it's more of a convenience as a multi-purpose tool rather than a self-defense tool. You know what they say, "don't bring a knife to a gun fight". Yes, most of my friends in the US keep a gun in their glove box, and yes, it is legal in most places to do so. In the state of Indiana, "stand your ground" law does exist, that means if someone charges in your direction or continues approaching youeven if you've warn them not to, if you so feel like your safety has been threatened, you have committed no crime if you shoot the person dead with self-defense as the main reason. But of course, not a crime doesn't mean no consequences, you'll still be arrested and get a trial in court and it's ultimately up to the juries to determine if you're guilty. For those of you that didn't know, this might come as a cultural shock to you, I know it did to me when I first learned bout it.
Why am I telling you these? There's a lot of media influences from the US, particularly Hollywood, and the internet. The 3-inch blade law is not applicable in Malaysia, but it is applicable to most of the states in the US. Be aware of your rights and how far the extend of laws protects you from it. Know your surroundings and the culture. There's much more corruption in M'sia than there is in the US, that includes the peace officers and police officers. I wouldn't worry much while travelling in the US as the police there are very efficient and effective, with a few cities like Cleveland in Ohio, Gary in Indiana and Detroit, Michigan as exceptions. When I do need to visit places like Gary or Detroit, I just think of myself being back in JB, avoid dark alleys, keep your distance from passers-by, etc.
In conclusion, know your surroundings and local culture. Local as in by cities and regions, not nation. As like crime rate in JB is different from in George Town. Research in advance places you're planning on visiting, travel smart, as your head is your best weapon. Only fight if you can't avoid. That being avoid getting into a situation that would threaten your safety first, run if you could to avoid a fight, only attack if you have no other choice, and run at the first chance you get.
PS: For those of you that doesn't know how to use a pepper spray as I've read from the threads above, it's spray to disable your attacker and run at first chance, NOT spray and stay to see what happens next. Using a pepper spray is only giving yourself a headstart running away from danger.