Is Shooting Off Fireworks Legal on Independence Day?

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Hi, I’m General Danny Karon here with your quick “blast” of legal wellness.

I wonder whether General George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, thought we’d be shooting off fireworks to celebrate America’s formal declaration of independence from colonial rule, which, by the way, occurred when the Second Continental Congress adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence back on July 4, 1776.

I’m guessing he didn’t. But we do, which is why I hear the same question every year. Is shooting off fireworks legal?

Forty-nine states plus Washington, DC allow consumer fireworks in some form. But to find out the rules that affect you, you need to check your state law and local ordinances because the law varies from state to state and even sometimes from county to county.

For example, Indiana has relatively lenient fireworks laws. There, you pretty much need to be 18, or be with an 18-year-old, and you need to be on your own property or on someone else’s property with their permission.

Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. California has really strict fireworks laws, in part because of, of course, the risk of wildfires.

Then there are Hawaii, Nevada, and Wyoming. They allow each county to establish its own regulations.

And finally, there’s Massachusetts, which completely bans all consumer fireworks.

So, what happens if you end up breaking the fireworks laws?

Well, you can get arrested, especially if you’re shooting them off in an area that has banned them due to wildfire risk. That is a really big deal. And depending on where you are, you could be fined up to $1,000 or even face up to a year in jail. And those are just the criminal penalties. If your fireworks end up causing property damage, start a fire, injure, or God forbid, kill someone, you could be looking at a lot more, well, fireworks.

Now, listen, it’s not in my constitution to be a star-spangled buzzkill. But also, I’m not saying anything revolutionary here. I’m simply saying that the Francis Scott Key—and, by the way, Key wrote the poem that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner following the war of 1812, not the Revolutionary War—the “key” to having a good time this Fourth of July is to know something about the law and to of course, to be safe.

If you’d like to learn more about legal wellness, please subscribe to my YouTube channel or visit me at Until next time, I’m Danny Karon, your Lovable Lawyer.

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