With the 4th of July here, many Americans have fireworks on their mind. While heading to a large event, such as one hosted by a city, it’s easy to get to view a magnificent display. Some people prefer to fire off their own. However, figuring out where to buy fireworks isn’t always easy. If you are ready to shop, here’s what you need to know.
Laws Regarding the Purchase of Fireworks
Purchasing any kind of consumer firework is illegal in three states: Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. That means you won’t find any type of fireworks. This includes small novelty items like sparklers and party poppers, anywhere in those states.
In Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Vermont, only small novelty items are sold there. Everything else is banned.
Otherwise, each state has its own unique fireworks laws. Some cities have additional restrictions. Before you attempt to buy any fireworks, especially if you leave your local area, learn the rules and regulations governing both their purchase and their use by consumers. Otherwise, you could find yourself in trouble. Even if you bought the fireworks legally, you could have an issue.
For example, in Ohio, your first offense could land you in jail for up to six months and saddle you with a $1,000. If you have a second offense, that is a fifth-degree felony. This felony could cost you a prison sentence of up to one year.
One of the most common places to find fireworks (in states where they are legal) is roadside stands. Since fireworks seasons are usually pretty limited, focusing on holidays like Independence Day and New Year’s, these kinds of locations are more economical. Plus, many landlords wouldn’t allow a fireworks company to rent any of their store spaces. This is mainly due to the high level of risk associated with storing what technically amounts to explosives. As a result, you won’t find many brick and mortar stores carrying larger fireworks.
You may trip across some novelty items or fireworks packages in larger retailers. For example, some Walmart locations will sell fireworks bundles, sparklers, party poppers, and more. However, they might not offer some of the more eye-catching options, like mortars.
You might also discover some fireworks distribution centers that have attached storefronts or otherwise allow consumer sales. Usually, these are facilities where fireworks are typically stored and transferred between locations. So they aren’t concerned about having them in the building for sale as they are already present.
Certain novelty items can be purchased online and shipped straight to your door. Sparklers, snakes, party pops, and similar options are mailable. As long as you live in a state that hasn’t banned them. Most online fireworks sellers maintain databases that tell them where certain novelty items are and are not allowed. Usually, they will check your mailing address against the information to determine whether or not you can buy specific kinds of novelty fireworks. However, they may also consider the billing address of your credit card. So keep that in mind if yours is listed in a highly restrictive state.
Larger fireworks, including most of the versions that shoot through the air, cannot be mailed through the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS, or FedEx under any circumstances.
Tell us where to buy fireworks in your state? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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