Fireworks and July 4th go together like peanut butter and jelly.
From huge jaw-dropping displays in New York City to a few rockets in a back garden, they are an integral part of American celebrations.
However there are a number of rules and laws in place regulating the use of fireworks.
Independence Day in the USA is just a day away, taking place on 4 July, and you might be putting the final touches on your preparations.
If you are planning on stocking up on fireworks ahead of tomorrow and you live in the US, here’s all you need to know.
Read to the end for the laws in the UK...
Which US states have made it illegal to buy fireworks?
Massachusetts is the only state that currently bans the sale of all consumer fireworks. However, professional displays are still allowed in the state.
A number of states heavily regulate the types of fireworks that are allowed to be sold to consumers.
In 16 states, only the sale and use of fireworks that are non-aerial and non-explosive, known as “safe and sane”, is allowed.
This includes sparkles, fountains and Roman candles.
The full list of “safe and sane” states is as follows:
- Maryland (aside from certain counties)
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
What are the age limits on buying fireworks in America?
The age restrictions on the sale of fireworks can vary greatly from state to state. For example in Arkansas, Mississippi and North Dakota, children as young as 12 can purchase fireworks.
The 23 states the age limit is set at 18 - including New York, Florida, Georgia and more.
In 17 states, including Texas and California, fireworks can be sold to people aged 16 and over.
Tennesse is the only state with an age limit of 17 on sales of fireworks.
In Maine and New Hampshire you have to be 21 to purchase them.
How late can you set off fireworks in the US?
Reader’s Digest reports that fireworks can only be set off between 9am and 11pm on non-holidays.
However this is extended to midnight on 4th of July, two hours after sunset during the Independence Day weekend and 2am on New Year’s Eve.
What kind of fireworks are illegal?
Every state has its own regulations about what types of fireworks are permitted or not.
Make sure to refer to your state’s guidelines before purchasing any for the fourth of July.
However as a standard rules the fuses on fireworks have to burn somewhere between three and nine seconds, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
This is to give people time to get to safety and avoid any potential injuries.
Legal fireworks can only have a maximum of 50 milligrams of pyrotechnic composition.
What are the punishments for having illegal fireworks?
Once again, states differ in how serverly they punish people caught with illegal fireworks.
In New York for example, you face a $250 fine.
However selling fireworks in Florida is a first degree misdemeanor that can land you in jail for up to a year.
In California violating the extensive California Fireworks Safety Act could get you hit with a $1,000 fine, Find a Law reports.
What are the laws on fireworks in the UK?
In the UK you cannot buy ‘adult’ fireworks if you’re under 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.
Adult fireworks are category 2 and 3 fireworks - they do not include things like party poppers.
The law also says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.
On Bonfire Night (5 November) you can set off fireworks until midnight and the cut off is 1am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.
You can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:
- 15 October to 10 November
- 26 to 31 December
- Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
At other times you can only buy fireworks from licenced shops.