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 now allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks, also called "Sparkling Devices."
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, and in 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, no 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? But before you go out and stock up on "sparkling devices" you need to know that depending 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 December 26th to January 1st. What about those pop-up tents and stands? New York State says 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 22, 2018, these are the registered sparking device vendors approved by the state of New York.
Effective January 1, 2018, 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 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 ones 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 a bunch of troubles with the law, including fines up to several hundreds of dollars.
Although Broome County now allows sparkling devices, according to Binghamton City Code, Chapter 229, Firearms, and Fireworks, “No person shall fire, discharge or set off or cause or procure to be fired, discharged or set off within the City any cannon, percussion, air or other gun, pistol, squib, rocket, firecracker, gunpowder, fireworks, or any other explosive combustible." 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.