With Independence Day right around the corner, this is the time of bottle rockets, roman candles, and firecrackers. But are fireworks legal to own and use in Illinois?
Unfortunately, most fireworks are illegal in Illinois if you do not have a permit. The Fireworks Regulation Act defines fireworks as “any explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances, or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect of a temporary exhibitional nature by explosion, combustion, deflagration or detonation.” In other words, an object is considered a firework that explodes for the purpose of creating a visible or audible effect. What is not a firework and you can therefore own and use without having a permit includes: trick noisemakers (ex. party poppers or snappers), sparklers, and snake or glow worm pellets.
The Pyrotechnic Use Act makes clear that it is illegal to knowingly possess, sell, or use any sort of display fireworks, flame effects, and consumer fireworks. The Pyrotechnic Use Act does give cities and counties the ability to adopt reasonable rules and regulations to award permits for pyrotechnic and consumer displays—it is these permits that allow professionals to launch fireworks for your local city's firework display every Fourth of July. But before you run out and try to get a permit, you might want to know that you must have a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives permit as well as proof of $1,000,000 in product liability insurance and $1,000,000 in general liability insurance, among other things.
If you own, use, or purchase illegal firearms in Illinois, you will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor under the Pyrotechnic Use Act, and a petty offense or a Class A misdemeanor under the Fireworks Regulation Act. If you cross state lines with fireworks, such as if you buy fireworks in Indiana and drive them into Illinois, you may also be guilty of federal offenses as well.
As always, make sure you drink responsibly so that you don't need to use our firms expertise in DUI Defense and criminal law defense.
Have a happy (and safe!) Fourth of July!
–Posted by John W. Callahan, proud US citizen and attorney