Celebrating the Red, White and Blue: Be Prepared to Follow the Law

8 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.
Flags 1 The Rocket's Red Glare


I love fireworks. That is, I love to watch a fireworks display from afar. I do not under any circumstances want to handle fireworks, detonate fireworks or be nearby when anyone else does. Nor do I want my Darling Boys or Dear Husband to do any of those things. I don't think this is so unreasonable; I think this is a healthy fear. Fireworks are dangerous.


When I was child, my dad instilled this unease of fireworks that remains with me today. Not only were we never allowed to shoot off any fireworks of our own, we couldn't even go to any firework displays. We could view the fireworks from a safe location (Read: a hill somewhere in the city – many miles from the actual site of detonation). For some reason that I don't really understand as I look back on my childhood, my brother and I were allowed to have sparklers – under adult supervision, of course. Even still, sparklers are like a bazillion degrees when lit. So, why were sparklers OK and everything else off limits? Not sure. But despite the ban of firework displays, or maybe because of it, I love to watch the blasts of dazzling colors and designs each 4th of July.


I also love the brightly colored, intricately designed packages these explosives come in. I have always wondered why the packages are so fancy, and in many cases beautiful, when they are just going to be torn apart once lit. But that's beside the point. The point is, to be safe and law-abiding you must know what your city and state allows regarding the how, and when and where of fireworks.


Laws Controlling Sales and Use of Fireworks


Here in Minnesota fireworks are sold everywhere from grocery stores to parking lot stands to big box department stores. And our neighbors feel compelled to shoot off rockets for a month or so before and after July 4th and in celebration of every other holiday. This is something we've had to get used to since moving from far more fireworks conservative states. For instance, in Iowa, fireworks were not permitted to be sold in any location in the entire state, with exception to certain sparklers. On the flip side, in Texas, many types of fireworks are legally sold, but permitted use is greatly dependent on the weather and whether burn bans are in place; a frequent occurrence in that drought-prone state.


My research on this topic reveals that the laws regulating permissible and prohibited fireworks, dates of sales and minimum age to purchase fireworks are greatly varied throughout the states. I found a great site with detailed state-by-state law information. Just find your state and click to find all relevant information about what you can buy and when: http://www.americanpyro.com/State%20Laws%20(main)/statelaws.html.


You should also check your local city's ordinances. Often, the local regulations are stricter as to where and when one can set off fireworks. For local ordinances, check your city's website.


The Scoop


It's important to know and follow your state and local laws regarding fireworks. Not only could you or someone else be harmed, but you could get an expensive citation if you are not following state laws and/or local ordinances as to where and when you can detonate fireworks. It's better to be safe than sorry!


Do you buy your own and shoot them off? Do you go to your city's fireworks display? Maybe fireworks aren't your thing. We have a great city fireworks display nearby. We are thinking about trying to go with the kids this year. Not sure how the loud explosions will go over with our two Darling Spirited Boys. Drop me a line and tell me your thoughts. On Wednesday, I will post tips for having a safe 4th of July celebration. Over and out…