Fireworks and the 4th of July go together like peanut butter and jelly.
From huge stunning displays in New York City to a few rockets in a back garden, they’re an integral part of American celebrations.
However, there are a number of rules and laws governing the use of fireworks.
With Independence Day in the US just a day away, on July 4th, you could be putting the finishing touches to your preparations.
If you’re planning on stocking up on fireworks before tomorrow and you live in the US, here’s everything you need to know.
Read to the end for the laws in the UK…
Which US states have banned the purchase of fireworks?
Massachusetts is the only state that currently bans the sale of consumer fireworks. However, professional displays are still allowed in the state.
A number of states heavily regulate the types of fireworks that may be sold to consumers.
16 states only allow the sale and use of fireworks that do not fly out of the air and are non-explosive, known to be “safe and healthy.”
These include sparkles, fountains and Roman candles.
The full list of “safe and healthy” states is as follows:
- Maryland (except certain counties)
- New Jersey
- new York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C
What are the age limits for buying fireworks in America?
Age restrictions for the sale of fireworks can vary widely from state to state. In Arkansas, Mississippi and North Dakota, for example, children as young as 12 can buy fireworks.
The age limit is set at 18 in the 23 states – including New York, Florida, Georgia and more.
17 states, including Texas and California, allow fireworks to be sold to persons 16 and older.
Tennessee is the only state with a 17 year age limit for selling fireworks.
In Maine and New Hampshire, you must be 21 to purchase them.
What time can fireworks be set off in the USA?
However, this is extended until midnight on July 4th, two hours after sunset on Independence Day weekend and 2am on New Year’s Eve.
What kind of fireworks are illegal?
Each state has its own regulations about what types of fireworks are allowed or not.
Be sure to check your state’s guidelines before buying anything for the Fourth of July.
However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fireworks fuses are required to burn between three and nine seconds as standard.
This is to give people time to get to safety and avoid possible injuries.
Legal fireworks can only contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of pyrotechnic composition.
What are the penalties for illegal fireworks?
Again, states differ on how harshly they punish people caught with illegal fireworks.
In New York, for example, you can expect a $250 fine.
However, selling fireworks in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor that can land you in prison for up to a year.
In California, violating the comprehensive California Fireworks Safety Act carries a $1,000 fine. Find a law reports.
What are the fireworks laws in the UK?
In the UK you cannot buy ‘adult’ fireworks if you are under 18 and it is against the law to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.
Adult firecrackers are category 2 and 3 firecrackers – items like party favors are not included.
The law also states that you may not light or throw fireworks (including sparklers) on the street or in other public places.
On Bonfire Night (November 5th) you can set off fireworks until midnight, and on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year the closing time is 1am.
On these dates you can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use:
- October 15th to November 10th
- 26th to 31st December
- Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times, you can only buy fireworks from licensed stores.