Here's Where You Can Legally Buy Fourth of July Fireworks 

Spoilers: Delaware, New Jersey, and Massachusetts residents are out of luck. 

Getty Images / Kena Betancur

There’s something about celebrating U.S. independence from British rule that makes us all want to blow up high powered fireworks, just because we can. Unfortunately, pesky state and local laws in various places can make that difficult because, as wonderful as explosions are, they can also be dangerous fire and safety hazards.

Bottom line, unless you’re a professional, regular consumers aren’t going to be able to put on the kind of spectacular light show that cities and towns across the country perform for their citizens, but there are some options out there for casual pyromaniacs.

Federal law designates three types of fireworks; display fireworks, which must be operated under supervision of a trained pyrotechnician; consumer fireworks, which are your mid-level fireworks that spin, roll, and jump with mini explosions and make relatively minimal noise; and “Articles Pyrotechnic,” which have the same shape and look as consumer explosives, but lack the proper clearance and markings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

All states prohibit display fireworks (except for professionals), but most allow consumer fireworks, although a handful ban the explosives outright. If you’re looking for what’s legal in your state, here’s the full breakdown.

Customers shop for fireworks at the Camp St. Andrews fireworks stand on July 3, 2014 in San Bruno, California. 

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

States That Ban Fireworks

  1. Delaware
  2. New Jersey
  3. Massachusetts

It seems somewhat absurd that residents in Boston, home of the Tea Party, the First Continental Congress, and numerous historical American moments, can’t even light sparklers on the Fourth of July, but such are the laws. Fortunately, if you’re on the Eastern seaboard, a more freedom-friendly state is just a short drive away.

States That Only Allow Novelty Items Such as Sparklers

  1. Indiana
  2. Iowa
  3. Ohio
  4. Vermont

Ohio consumers can buy fireworks from one of the 50 licensed state locations so long as they transport it out of the state within 48 hours. As an Ohio native, I can tell you many people do not follow that law, but now is a good time to say you should follow all state and county laws.

American Pyrotechnics Association 

States That Allow Most Consumer Fireworks

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Hawaii
  11. Idaho
  12. Illinois
  13. Kansas
  14. Kentucky
  15. Louisiana
  16. Maine
  17. Maryland
  18. Michigan
  19. Minnesota
  20. Mississippi
  21. Missouri
  22. Montana
  23. Nebraska
  24. Nevada
  25. New Hampshire
  26. New Mexico
  27. New York North
  28. Carolina
  29. North Dakota
  30. Oklahoma
  31. Oregon
  32. Pennsylvania
  33. Rhode Island
  34. South Carolina
  35. South Dakota
  36. Tennessee
  37. Texas
  38. Utah
  39. Virginia
  40. Washington
  41. West Virginia
  42. Wisconsin
  43. Wyoming

All of these allow consumer fireworks of some sort, but unfortunately, the laws still fluctuate dramatically state-by-state. If you’re curious about whether a specific boom-stick is allowed in your state, the American Pyrotechnics Association has a detailed state-by-state breakdown that you should consult before purchasing or handling fireworks.

If exploding things personally isn’t your gig, you could also get out and fly a drone through a display — or just watch others do it because it’s totally illegal. Again, please follow all state and local laws involving pyrotechnics.