There are many reasons people use fireworks, though usually they are used for celebratory purposes. However, despite how fun they can be, they are certainly dangerous and need to be handled with great care. As a result, many states, cities, counties, etc. will have different laws and regulations regarding the purchase, handling, and use of fireworks. But what are common examples of these you should consider when buying fireworks?
Important laws and regulations to consider when purchasing fireworks
Perhaps the most important thing a person must take into consideration is how old they are. Fireworks, being rather dangerous at the best of times, are typically not allowed to be purchased by anyone under a certain age. While many states require you to be 18 to purchase fireworks, some allow children aged 16 and up to purchase them. However, there are some states that go even younger, as young as 12, such as Arkansas.
Permits for public firework displays
Even in states where you can purchase fireworks at a relatively young age, they may require that you first obtain a permit if you intend to make any public display of fireworks. For example, in the state of Minnesota, in order to do a public fireworks display, you need to have a pyrotechnic operator who is approved by a Minnesota State Fire Marshall. There are many states with similar standards, though some may be stricter, while others may be a lot less so.
Meanwhile, in a state like Texas, where a person can purchase fireworks at an age two years younger than those in Minnesota, you still need to be 21 years of age in order to secure a permit.
Types of fireworks that can be purchased
The kinds of fireworks that can be purchased will vary from place to place. In a lot of situations, the types of fireworks that may be legally purchased are sometimes specifically advertised. Meanwhile, they may also specify which fireworks are explicitly illegal to purchase or transport across state lines. Where some states specify the kinds of fireworks that are not legally purchasable or sellable, others may have a catch-all system. For example, Alaska’s fireworks bans cover either any fireworks not specified as legal, or salable consumer fireworks.
Some states, however, do not have any type of firework bans, ensuring that so long as you are legally allowed to purchase fireworks, you can expect to find the fireworks that you want. Firecrackers, Roman candles, and artillery shell fireworks are available in some states.
What is the difference between consumer fireworks and novelties?
These two terms sometimes often come up as distinct types of fireworks. Novelties tend to be less dangerous, though not necessarily not dangerous. Novelties include things like sparklers and smoke devices. Consumer fireworks, meanwhile, are a lot more high-impact and dangerous and need to be handled with care as a result.
Crossing state lines with fireworks
When you are transporting fireworks, it is important to understand that different states handle fireworks differently, as discussed above. So if you, as a 16-year-old, go into a state where fireworks can only be purchased by people 18 or older, there may be issues with such possession.
Federal laws regarding fireworks
While state laws tend to be the most relevant kind of laws you should expect to worry about, there are still laws that exist at the federal level. Fireworks are considered to be exempt from federal explosive regulations, despite the fact that they could technically qualify. However, the manufacture of fireworks requires a federal explosives license.
How much trouble can you get in for violating the laws and regulations regarding fireworks?
There is not much in the way of federal laws that will be relevant to most people. When it comes to state laws, however, you should not have to worry much about experiencing severe punishment. For example, in most situations, any violation will be a misdemeanor, which may result in a fine, jail time, or both. However, the law of the respective state may be harsher or more lenient, so check to see if your state’s laws tilt one way or the other.
Certain misdemeanors may be lighter based on the severity of the sentence. Some states’ laws may have a maximum punishment of 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine (such as in Minnesota). However, if the misdemeanor involves a large quantity, the law may impose a significantly harsher punishment.
Injuries caused by faulty, irresponsible, or downright malicious use of fireworks may cause the punishment to be significantly more severe. This is especially true in the event that a threat of violence is made using the firework, or if the firework was actually used. In this case, you may face assault charges. Though to be clear, you do not need to be malicious in order to receive severe punishments. Both the risk of damage and severity of punishment is why some states have higher standards for possession and use.