Where You Can and Can't Buy July 4th Fireworks

by Erika Owen

There's nothing more American than a makeshift wooden "warehouse" sitting off of the highway filled to the brim with exotic-looking fireworks with equally exciting names (Cherry bombs! Bengal flares! Mini rockets!). Lucky for the pyromaniac in you (and unlucky for the dude who is inevitably going to blow his thumb off this weekend), governments across the country are loosening up in those states with stricter fireworks laws, so more of those seasonal stands will likely be popping up. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), 2014 is looking to be a standout year in firework sales. Proof, in a statement released by the APA: "...fireworks revenues have climbed steadily from $600 million in 2006, to $662 million in 2013. 'If sales remain strong through July 4, and the weather cooperates, consumer fireworks revenues could exceed $675 million for the 2014 fireworks season,' says Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of the APA."

With this change of attitude has come a bit of confusion. Arizona has recently found a spot in the news because of some fireworks disorientation, making now as good of a time as ever to remind everyone where you can and can't buy the good stuff. Some of you may continue to celebrate the season by setting off "golden showers" from your backyard — that's the name of a real, live firework, I promise — but for those goody two shoes looking to play it safe, this story is for you. (No shame, law abiders. Fire is scary.)

The laws standing against firework displays are there for good reason. (I mean, just think of all the potential for firework show fails.) Take a look below to see what the specific rules are in your neck of the woods (necessary permits, age restrictions, public display accordances, etc.), according to the APA.

No Fireworks Allowed

Delaware, New Jersey, and New York strictly prohibit any use of consumer fireworks while Maine does permit fireworks that have been "tested & certified by a third party laboratory as conforming with CPSC standards." In other words, all of you fire fans in these four states had better make plans to attend a public display in lieu of hosting your own illegal show. Check out more information on firework use in these four states:

Fireworks Limited

You've got to watch out for specific fireworks and novelties with these four states. Each of the states vary in terms of what they allow — for example, only sparklers are allowed in Iowa, and Illinois has an approved list of consumer fireworks. Illinois and Ohio require an operator to obtain a license while Iowa and Vermont don't. Even more reason to check out the state specifications below:

Fireworks Allowed

All or some fireworks are allowed in 42 state (as well as Washington D.C.). This being said, specific types or brands of fireworks may be excluded from this law. Most of these states have varying rules for obtaining permits for large public displays or age requirements when it comes to operating the fireworks. You can find state-specific information from the APA below:

Enjoy your holiday, and please practice appropriate safety measures so as to keep all your appendages intact.

Image: Paul Long/Flickr