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4 Fireworks Laws to Know for July Fourth

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

From sparklers to M-80s, it's important to know your area's fireworks laws before you partake in this year's Fourth of July festivities.

All 50 states in the good ol' U.S. of A. have laws in place that regulate the legal purchase and use of fireworks.

Here are four types of fireworks laws to keep in mind this Fourth of July:

  1. Local laws. Though states regulate the purchase, use, and sale of fireworks, laws will further vary from municipality to municipality. At the local level (cities, towns, and counties), the best way to learn all the dos and don'ts where you live when it comes to fireworks (both sale and use) is to contact your local law enforcement agency or fire department and ask them about local regulations for fireworks.
  2. Age requirements. Most states have an age requirement as to how old you can be if you want to purchase fireworks. The age requirement can range anywhere from 12 to 18, so make sure to find out what the law is in your area. This is especially important for parents because if your child is caught using fireworks without meeting the age requirement, you could be held liable.
  3. "Safe and Sane" fireworks. Many states prohibit the private sale and use of fireworks, but permit the purchase and use of certain "Safe and Sane" foreworks. "Safe and Sane" basically refers to fireworks that do not fly or explode. Fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke and snake items, strobes, ground spinners, novelty fireworks that do not travel, snappers and caps are usually considered "Safe and Sane" fireworks, according to Firecrackers, rockets, missiles, mines, shells, aerial cakes, flying spinners and roman candles, as expected, don't make the cut -- though these are legal in a number of states. Only certain states and cities restrict the types of fireworks sold to those deemed "Safe and Sane"; each jurisdiction can also have its own specific definition of which fireworks are "Safe and Sane."
  4. Seasonal requirements. Many states restrict the sale, purchase and use of fireworks to certain times of the year. Not surprisingly, states with seasonal restrictions typically make fireworks legally available during the events we love to spend going "ooh" and "ah": the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve.

Even if you're in a state where fireworks are legal, make sure to keep it safe when you're celebrating with family and friends. Have a great Fourth of July!

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