You used to have to drive across the Pennsylvania border to buy even the most basic firework. But in 2014, laws banning the sale and use of consumer fireworks or “sparking devices” were lifted here in New York.
It’s up to each individual county on what you can buy. In Erie County it is legal to purchase certain kinds. “What is legal is called sparkling devices. Hand held sparklers or anything set into the ground,” said Capt. Jim Welch. “Anything that pops up in the air or goes boom is illegal. “All other types of consumer fireworks, like firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices, remain illegal statewide.
Pop up shops in parking lots and the products hitting local store shelves seem to be everywhere you look. Certified temporary stands or tents can sell from June 20 to July 5 and December 26 to January 1.
No matter how fun it may look to set them off, it’s important to be extremely careful. “Even the hand held sparklers, they’ll burn anywhere from 1200 to 2000 degrees so it’s still very dangerous,” said Welch.
And you must be at least 18 years old. “A lot of times they want to set them off and hand them off to the kids in the yard and that’s great until somebody gets hurt,” said Welch. “And its usually the case. So I would strongly advice to not let the kids use them.”
Law enforcement and medical professionals are asking people to follow the law and celebrate responsibly. And they say the best thing to do is just leave the firework displays to the professionals.