Know Your State's Fireworks Laws

How did America’s birthday become synonymous with blowing sh*t up? We assume it has something to do with Francis Scott Key — or maybe it’s just that a lot of people think blowing sh*t up is really, really cool. But you probably don’t want to spend July 4th in jail, so you may want to learn a little about the hodgepodge of state fireworks laws — or just skip the DIY stuff and let someone else burst their bombs.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 39 states allow “some or all types of consumer fireworks,” while five — New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island — don’t allow anything (and, yes, that includes sparklers). Most of these also frown on bringing in fireworks from neighboring states that are more permissive, so if you see what look like immigration checkpoints set up at Delaware River crossings today, you’ll know why.

The CPSC warns that “in 2009 there were two deaths and nearly 9,000 emergency room visits for injuries resulting from fireworks related incidents. Most fireworks injuries occurred to consumers younger than 20 and resulted in the loss of a limb in many cases.” The agency’s tips about fireworks safety include:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.

We’ll stick to kicking back and letting the pros do the hard work — and spend the big bucks. It’s not like anything in our backyard can compete with Macy’s seven-figure blowout.

Fireworks Fact Sheet [CPSC]
The Most Extravagant Fireworks Displays for July 4 [DailyFinance]