What Are the Laws – NBC New York (47)

The celebration of Independence Day in the United States on July 4 is characterized by fireworks displays in which friends and family gather to celebrate the date.

However, during this holiday weekend, many decide to use fireworks, which without proper precautions can be dangerous. Also, each state has its own laws and it is important to know them before using them.

A new report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission., (CPSC, for its acronym in English), finds a significant upward trend in fireworks-related injuries. Between 2006 and 2021, fireworks injuries increased 25% nationwide, according to CPSC estimates.

According to the CPSC 74% of fireworks injuries occurred in the weeks before or after July 4 in 2021.

The report says that last year, at least nine people were killed and approximately 11,500 injured in fireworks incidents.

Here we tell you what are the rules related to the use of fireworks in the tri-state area and what are legal and illegal.


In New Jersey, it is illegal to sell, possess, or use fireworks, other than certain sparking devices and novelties, without a valid permit.

These are the rules under the New Jersey Fireworks and Explosives Act (N.J.S.A. 21:2-1 et seq., as amended by PL2017, C.92):

  • It is illegal to sell, offer for sale, possess, or use fireworks anywhere in the state without a valid permit..
  • However, recent changes to the law now allow persons 16 years of age or older to legally purchase, possess and use certain spark gap devices or those made for the public. These permitted fireworks are limited to the familiar portable or ground flares, snakes, and fireflies; smoke devices; and rattle tricks, including party poppers, snappers y drop pops. The sale, possession and use of all other fireworks requires a valid permit.
  • The valid permit must be issued by any municipality after of receiving a written request and posting of a bond, for the fireworks show, by municipalities, religious, fraternal or civic organizations, fair associations, amusement parks, or other organizations or groups of individuals approved by the municipality.
  • The heads of the Police and Fire Departments must approve the permit.
  • An identification number and the specific type of fireworks to be used must be indicated on the permit: The permits will name a person who will be authorized to purchase, or otherwise order, and take delivery of any fireworks.
  • A person is guilty of a fourth degree felony if sells, offers or exhibits for sale, or possesses with intent to sell, any fireworks, other than sparking devices and novelties to persons 16 years of age or older.
  • A person is guilty of a petty disorderly conduct if he or she purchases, uses, discharges, causes to be discharged, ignited, fired or otherwise put into action, or possesses fireworks without the required permit.

Any business that advertises, offers to sell, or sells fireworks to New Jersey residents is required to clearly disclose that fireworks, except for legal ones such as sparkling devices and novelties, are illegal to possess or use in New Jersey without a valid permit. Failure to do so would be a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and its regulations.


As we said earlier, recent changes to the law now allow people 16 years of age or older to legally purchase, possess and use certain spark gap devices or those that are made for the public. To see the list go here.

Here we have the images of those that are legal for people over 16 in New Jersey:

To report illegal fireworks you can call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846.

To see the legislation go here.

More information here.


New York State law permits the sale and use ONLY of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as Sparkling Devices o Sparking Devices.

Sparking devices are ground-based or portable devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and/or colored flames, audible crackles or hisses, and smoke. The law limits the type, size, and construction of sparking devices and requires that these devices be hand-held or mounted on a base or tip and be limited in sizes from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

The sale and use of spark gap devices is legal in counties and cities that have NOT enacted a local law pursuant to section 405.00 of the New York Penal Law.

The Bureau of Fire Prevention and Control has been notified that the following counties have banned the sale and use of spark gap devices: Albany, Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange (banned only in the cities of Middletown and Newburgh), Queens, Richmond, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester.

For more information here.

Deputy Inspector Louron Hall of the New York City Police also recalled that fireworks in the city are illegal and asked New Yorkers to call 3-1-1 to report their illegal use, sale or distribution.


Fireworks are not permitted by law in Connecticut for use by non-professional and unlicensed users.

Sparklers and fountains, which are not technically considered fireworks, may be sold but cannot legally be sold or used by anyone under the age of 16.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection licenses fireworks displays, special effects, fireworks and special effects shooters, and fireworks dealers and manufacturers.

For fireworks complaints in Connecticut you should contact your local Police Department orl Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Phone: (860) 685-8460.

For more information on the use of fireworks in Connecticut go here.


The NJDFS provides the following guidelines for those purchasing ground-use sparking and pyrotechnic devices (which are mostly allowed):

  • Never use illegal fireworks.
  • Buy only legal-use sparking devices from reputable retailers.
  • Do not buy if the packaging is damaged or tampered with.
  • Never use them in indoor areas.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never let young children play with or light fireworks; They should only be used by older children under the close supervision of an adult.
  • Never use fireworks if you have used drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone using or near fireworks should wear protective goggles.
  • Never hold lit fireworks in your hands.
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable materials.
  • Never direct or shoot fireworks at another person.
  • Turn on only one sparking device at a time and keep a safe distance from that point on.
  • Never light sparking devices inside a box.
  • Do not try to relight or manipulate pyrotechnics in bad condition or “failed”.
  • Thoroughly soak used and “failed” fireworks in a bucket of water and leave overnight.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby to completely put out fireworks that tend to stay lit or in case of fire.
  • Double wrap soaked devices in polyethylene, or place them in a plastic bag, to prevent them from drying out.
  • Put those plastic bags in your regular household trash.

For other tips visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. here.

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