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4 States Where Fireworks Are Illegal Most — If Not All — of the Time

No fireworks sign
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The Fourth of July is right around the corner, but if you celebrate with fireworks in the wrong place, you could end up in trouble.

Most U.S. states allow citizens to celebrate with some type of individual fireworks display. But several states severely restrict your ability to use fireworks, and one outright bans the practice.

Here are the states where bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers and other pyrotechnics could get you into trouble.

Mind local restrictions, too

Businessman watching fireworks on the 4th of July celebrating financial independence
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Before getting into the states that restrict or ban fireworks, it’s important to note that even in states where they are legal, some municipalities have their own restrictions on or exceptions for the use of fireworks.

For example, in Palm Beach County, Florida, local regulations authorize the county fire marshal to prohibit the use of fireworks and even sparklers during droughts if the marshal “determines that the fire hazard created by such use would present an imminent danger to life and property.”

Such community prohibitions are not unusual and can be found in many parts of the U.S. So, even if it is legal to light fireworks in your state, check with your local municipality to make sure it’s allowed this year, especially if you are currently experiencing drought conditions.


Fireworks in Boston
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Boston played a key role in the nation’s move toward independence, most notably during the legendary Boston Tea Party. And while it’s fine to celebrate the Fourth of July in Beantown and the rest of Massachusetts, don’t use fireworks to display your patriotism.

It’s illegal for most people to use fireworks in Massachusetts. According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ official website:

“Massachusetts law prohibits the possession, use, and sale of fireworks without a permit and certification. The law applies even if you buy them legally in another state. Leave fireworks to the professionals and see a great professional fireworks display this year.”

New York

Fireworks over the Statue of Liberty in New York
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In New York, fireworks use is limited to one category: sparkling devices.

Better known as “sparklers,” these are fireworks you hold in your hand or place in the ground before lighting them and watching them produce colored sparks and a colored flame.

However, counties and cities can ban these fireworks if they see fit to do so. Counties that have chosen this route include:

  • Albany
  • Bronx
  • Columbia
  • Kings
  • Nassau
  • New York
  • Orange (prohibited in the cities of Middletown and Newburgh only)
  • Queens
  • Richmond
  • Schenectady
  • Suffolk
  • Warren
  • Westchester

New Jersey

Fireworks in Asbury Park, New Jersey
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

In New Jersey, it is against the law to sell, possess or use fireworks in the state unless you have a valid permit.

However, those who are at least 16 can buy and use some sparkling devices and novelties. All of these must be hand-held or ground-based and include:

  • Sparklers
  • Snakes and glow worms
  • Smoke devices
  • Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, snappers and drop pops


Fireworks at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

Delaware‘s approach to fireworks is a bit unusual. It is only legal to sell sparklers and other “ground-based items” during two periods: from June 4 to July 4 and Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. And it is illegal to use them except on three days: July 4, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

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