Spend

Americans spend $1 billion on fireworks, but setting them off may mean fines or worse

A man holds Roman candle fireworks during Indpendence Day celebrations.
Julia Fenner | Twenty20

It's estimated that Americans will spend $1 billion on fireworks this Independence Day. But before you open your wallet, you may want to double check which fireworks, if any, are legal to set off in your area.

The fireworks industry is booming, thanks to many states and municipalities relaxing the rules around the sale and usage of fireworks.

"If sales remain strong through July 4, consumer fireworks revenues could exceed $1 billion for the 2019 fireworks season," Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, said in a statement. That's up from the estimated $945 million Americans spent last year.

The most popular fireworks are sparklers and snappers, as well as family-pack assortments, a spokeswoman for TNT Fireworks, one of the largest retailers in the country, tells CNBC Make It.

It's not surprising considering those are the fireworks that are the least likely to cause issues with local authorities. In the U.S., buying and using fireworks is anything but simple. States and local municipalities each have their own sets of rules and regulations around fireworks, and many times, they can seem contradictory.

Ohio, for example, will allow you to purchase pretty much any type of consumer firework. But if you get caught setting off anything other than a sparkler or other novelty item — such as snappers — it's punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months of jail time.

Here's a look at which states are the most and least restrictive when it comes to consumers buying and using fireworks. Keep in mind that this map is based on statewide rules, but some cities or counties may have different local ordinances in place. Native American tribal lands may also have different rules than the surrounding county or state.

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A man holds Roman candle fireworks during Indpendence Day celebrations.
Julia Fenner | Twenty20
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