Laws Differ Between States as to What Fireworks are Legal -

Laws Differ Between States as to What Fireworks are Legal

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The 4th of July holiday is right around the coroner and law enforcement wants you to know how to enjoy it, legally. That means understanding which type of fireworks you can and can't set off at your home, and where it's allowed.

Vickey Robbs and her grandson came to Poor Paul's Fireworks in Spartanburg County on Sunday night to take a look around and plan their big purchase later in the week.

"We basically just try to blow up the neighborhood," said Robbs.

Robbs joked but admitted that a large fireworks display had been a part of her families tradition for years. She said when her family lived in North Carolina, she had to smuggle fireworks to her family's home, set them off and run.

Now they live in South Carolina where most fireworks are legal.

Along the North Carolina/South Carolina border Rodney's Rockets welcomed customers all Sunday long. They said they have clientele from all over the region but many from North Carolina.

"You hear that pretty often they say you can't do that where we're from," said Theresa Davis. She's worked by the border at Rodney's for nearly a decade and said she knows the firework laws like the back of her hand.

In South Carolina nearly all fireworks are fair game. You must be 16 years of age or older to buy fireworks and you must make sure your neighbors aren't bothered by them too.

Here are some restrictions highlighted in South Carolina state law.

SECTION 23-35-130. Manufacture, storage, transportation or possession of certain fireworks illegal; storage and assembly of public display material; penalty.

(A) It is unlawful to manufacture, store, transport, or possess fireworks containing pyrotechnic composition in excess of two grains, designed to produce a loud and piercing effect, including, but not limited to, fireworks commonly called "ground salutes" or "cherry bombs", M-80's, T-N-T salutes, and "bulldog salutes". A manufacturer shall obtain a permit to store or assemble materials for public fireworks displays. No manufacturer may store public display material in the same building where legal fireworks are offered for sale to retailers.

(B) The provisions of this chapter do not prohibit continuous interstate commerce through this State into another state of any item of fireworks permitted for shipment by the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission or the United States Department of Transportation, or their successors. It is unlawful to ship into or through this State or possess, sell, or use, under any circumstances, any article of fireworks that is forbidden for transportation by regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the United States Department of Transportation, or their successors.

(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

You can continue reading at the SC Statehouse website.

In North Carolina there is a zero tolerance law prohibiting everything except display and consumer fireworks.

The types of consumer fireworks permissible for use in North Carolina are generally classified as sparklers, fountains, and novelty fireworks. 

You cannot set off anything that explodes spins, leaves the ground or flies through the air. If you purchased it from a vendor in North Carolina it should be legal. 

Here is part of the law. You can read more here

North Carolina General Statue 14‑414. 


14‑414.  Pyrotechnics defined; exceptions.

For the proper construction of the provisions of this Article, "pyrotechnics," as is herein used, shall be deemed to be and include any and all kinds of fireworks and explosives, which are used for exhibitions or amusement purposes: provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the manufacture, purchase, sale, transportation, and use of explosives or signaling flares used in the course of ordinary business or industry, or shells or cartridges used as ammunition in firearms. This Article shall not apply to the sale, use, or possession of the following:

(1)       Explosive caps designed to be fired in toy pistols, provided that the explosive mixture of the explosive caps shall not exceed twenty‑five hundredths (.25) of a gram for each cap.

(2)       Snake and glow worms composed of pressed pellets of a pyrotechnic mixture that produce a large, snake‑like ash when burning.

(3)       Smoke devices consisting of a tube or sphere containing a pyrotechnic mixture that produces white or colored smoke.

(4)       Trick noisemakers which produce a small report designed to surprise the user and which include:

a.         A party popper, which is a small plastic or paper item containing not in excess of 16 milligrams of explosive mixture.  A string protruding from the device is pulled to ignite the device, expelling paper streamers and producing a small report.

b.         A string popper, which is a small tube containing not in excess of 16 milligrams of explosive mixture with string protruding from both ends.  The strings are pulled to ignite the friction‑sensitive mixture, producing a small report.

c.         A snapper or drop pop, which is a small, paper‑wrapped item containing no more than 16 milligrams of explosive mixture coated on small bits of sand.  When dropped, the device produces a small report.

(5)       Wire sparklers consisting of wire or stick coated with non explosive pyrotechnic mixture that produces a shower of sparks upon ignition.  These items must not exceed 100 grams of mixture per item.

(6)       Other sparkling devices which emit showers of sparks and sometimes a whistling or crackling effect when burning, do not detonate or explode, do not spin, are hand‑held or ground‑based, cannot propel themselves through the air, and contain not more than 75 grams of chemical compound per tube, or not more than a total of 200 grams if multiple tubes are used. (1947, c. 210, s. 5; 1955, c. 674, s. 1; 1993, c. 437.)


Caleb Edwards runs a TNT fireworks stand in Hendersonville at the Walmart. He is raising money for a mission trip and said just because they may not have a selection like those in South Carolina, you're quality won't suffer.

"Everything we have has a lot more color and runs for a lot longer so you get more for your money," said Edwards.

You can also use the cell phone App RedLazer to snap the QR code on the fireworks at his stand. It will provide you with a video of how the firework will look when it's lit.

Robbs finished her shopping at Poor Pauls with her grandson and said she's happy she has the freedom now to fire off whatever fireworks she chooses. Her only challenge she admits, it impressing her neighbors.

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