Which Fireworks Are Legal In My State?

Image courtesy of Adam Gerard

Aside from a pair of federal-level regulations on certain types of fireworks, what you can or can’t set off this Fourth of July weekend will depend on which state you’re in.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, only a few states — Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Jersey — have bans on all consumer fireworks. Yes, that even means sparklers.

Another handful of states — Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Vermont — do allow sparklers and some novelty items, but even then these states disagree on the items that are permitted. For example, the Illinois rules spell out that consumers can have and use “snakes,” smoke bombs, toy cap guns, and “trick noisemakers,” while across the river in Iowa they only explicitly allow certain types of sparklers, snakes, and cap guns.

For the remaining 43 states (and District of Columbia), there are more options but things still vary greatly from state to state. Rather than go through each one here, the APA has this guide to relevant fireworks rules in each state.

Even in the most fireworks-favorable states, folks are still limited by two sections of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Title 16, Part 1500.17(a)(3) prohibits: “Fireworks devices intended to produce audible effects (including but not limited to cherry bombs, M-80 salutes, silver salutes, and other large firecrackers, aerial bombs, and other fireworks designed to produce audible effects, and including kits and components intended to produce such fireworks) if the audible effect is produced by a charge of more than 2 grains of pyrotechnic composition.”

While (a)(8) bans: “Firecrackers designed to produce audible effects, if the audible effect is produced by a charge of more than 50 milligrams (.772 grains) of pyrotechnic composition (not including firecrackers included as components of a rocket), aerial bombs, and devices that may be confused with candy or other foods, such as ‘dragon eggs,’ and ‘cracker balls’ (also known as ‘ball-type caps’), and including kits and components intended to produce such fireworks.”

Wherever you live and whatever you light up, set off, or blow the ever-loving snot out of this weekend, please be careful. Don’t put your fingers, limbs, or life at risk just for the sake of a loud bang.

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