Decoding New York State’s Fireworks Law
New Yorkers were excited when it was announced late in 2014 that for the first time in 100 years, laws regarding the sale and use of fireworks in the state had been modified. The change in the New York State fireworks law would mean that sales and use of consumer fireworks, also called "Sparkling Devices," would be legal.
Whether you had no idea the laws in New York were changed or you were aware but need a refresher on which fireworks are legal and which aren't in New York state along with which New York counties the new laws do NOT apply, this is everything you need to know.
According to the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the "Sparking Devices" that New York State law refers to are considered, "ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke."
In other words, you won't be able to buy any of the bigger fireworks that our neighbors in Pennsylvania are able to buy, but little fireworks are better than no fireworks, right? Before you go out and stock up on "sparkling devices" you need to know that depending on in which New York county you live, you might not even be allowed to have "Sparking Devices." What's more is that in New York state, fireworks can only be bought and sold from June 1st to July 5th and from December 26th to January 1st. so, what about those pop-up tents and stands? New York State law states that "sales of Sparkling Devices by certified temporary stands or tents can only occur from June 20th to July 5th and December 26th to January 1st."
As of June 6, 2019, these are the registered sparking device vendors approved by the state of New York.
Put into effect on January 1, 2018, the law states that buying, selling, and using sparking devices (not fireworks) is only legal in the counties and cities that have NOT enacted a local law pursuant to section 405.00 of the Penal Law of NY which sounds really confusing. Simply put, sparking devices (not fireworks) are now legal everywhere in the state except for in Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, and Schenectady counties.
Although the laws have changed and the majority of counties in New York state now allow the buying and using of sparking devices, if you have any questions, it's always best to reach out to your local county officials for confirmation and clarification.
Keep in mind, if you live or play in one of the counties where fireworks are legal, you're definitely limited to what you can buy and set off. These are the fireworks that are legal to use in counties listed above where sparkling devices have been made legal (basically they're just the novelty fireworks):
Sparkling fountains, sparklers on wooden sticks, but not metal sticks, smoking devices, snakes, confetti-filled party poppers, paper-wrapped snappers.
These are the fireworks that are illegal to buy and set off in all of New York state unless you belong to an organization or association and have the proper permits (basically what's considered illegal is anything that shoots up in the air or sends out a projectile):
Firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners, and other aerial fireworks.
No person under the age of 18 is allowed to handle fireworks (aka sparkling devices) in the state of New York, even the sparking devices that are legal. If you’re caught allowing a person under the age of 18-years-old to handle any form of firework, you could be charged with a crime. In other words, if you light a sparkler on a wooden stick and twirl it around and hand it off to your 13-year-old, even for just a second, you’d be committing a crime and could face serious troubles with the law, including fines of up to several hundreds of dollars.
Again, if you want to play with sparkling devices and aren't sure if the local law enforcement where you live is okay with it, reach out to them for answers.