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Is it legal to buy fireworks in New York this year?

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By Lenyon Whitaker, Metro

Can you buy fireworks in New York?  If you live in New York and plan on celebrating Independence day — also known as the Fourth of July —  you might be curious to find out if you can buy fireworks in New York City or New York State so you can celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

While many Americans will celebrate The Fourth of July enjoying barbecues and cookouts with friends and family, there are many people who want to celebrate July Fourth with a bang with fireworks.

If the Macy’s July 4th Fireworks celebration isn’t enough for you and you’re wondering if it’s legal to buy fireworks in New York City or New York State, we’re here to help sift through the fireworks laws and regulations because they can be confusing for New York and can vary depending on the county.

Are fireworks legal in New York?

According to the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State allows the sale and use of a "specific category" of consumer-level fireworks, but sometimes what is considered consumer fireworks could be confusing.

The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services classifies legal consumer fireworks as sparkling devices.

By definition, "sparkling devices are ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke."

According to NYS DHS, the law "limits the type, size and construction of sparkling devices and requires that these devices must be handheld or mounted on a base or spike and be limited in sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition."

Full explanations of the laws concerning fireworks in New York can be found on the NYS DHS official website.

Although most fireworks are illegal in New York State, there are 40 New York State counties that allow the sale and purchase of certain types of sparkling devices.


When can I buy fireworks in New York?

Fireworks or sparkling devices can only be purchased and sold from June 1 to July 5th for Fourth of July celebrations and from December 26 to January 1 for New Year’s celebrations. It’s against the law if you try to buy fireworks outside those date ranges.


Where is it illegal to use fireworks, Sparkling Devices in New York?

According to the NYS DHS, Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, and Schenectady counties have prohibited the sale and use of sparkling devices. The complete list is available on the New York State Police website. 

The NYS DHS has a list of registered sparkling device venders so you’re not purchasing anything illegal.

Firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinning and aerial devices are illegal across New York State. Sparklers with metal sticks are illegal because they can remain hot after they burn out.


So, what fireworks are legal in New York?

Now since you have some general information to answer if you can buy fireworks in New York and the strict and somewhat confusing fireworks regulations, you might be wondering what type of fireworks or sparkling devices you can use.

If you’re looking to celebrate July Fourth with some flare, you can use different types of sparklers on wooden sticks, or different shapes as well as other novelty devices. To be on the safe side it’s advised that you purchase your sparkling devices from authorized dealers. The NYS DHS has a fireworks safety tip sheet to use in case of emergency.

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