As a general rule, North Carolina does have fairly restrictive laws on fireworks. Our neighbor to the south, South Carolina, does have much more inclusive laws. In fact, most fireworks are legal in South Carolina. Remember, many fireworks you can purchase across the border are not legal here. But what fireworks can you have in North Carolina? Here's a rundown:
What fireworks are legal in North Carolina?
Fireworks that are legal in this state include poppers, sparklers, fountains and novelty items that don't explode, spin, leave the ground or fly through the air. The Charlotte fire department issued this list as examples of legal fireworks: snake and glow worms, smoke devices, noisemakers like snappers and string poppers and wire sparklers. There's a common misconception that all fireworks are legal on holidays like July 4. That's not true, though. The same laws still hold true all year. Also, the city of Charlotte abides by the sames rules as the rest of the state. As I mentioned above, South Carolina laws are far less strict. Here's a primer on South Carolina fireworks laws.
What fireworks are illegal in North Carolina?
There are certain fireworks that are illegal to possess in this state. That includes firecrackers, fireworks that spin on the ground, roman candles, bottle rockets, and any aerial fireworks. Essentially, any firework that leaves the ground is not legal in North Carolina.
How do I get a North Carolina fireworks permit?
State law requires that anyone shooting indoor or outdoor fireworks must submit an application to the State Fire Marshal, attend a safety class, and pass an exam. Contact the NCDOI for more details.
Penalties for using fireworks illegally in North Carolina
Violators of the state's fireworks law face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine up to $500 and or imprisonment of up to six months.
How old do you have to be to purchase fireworks in North Carolina?
You must be 18 years old. The age of purchase is 16 in South Carolina.
Fireworks safety in North Carolina
Since our state's laws are pretty tight, many people assume that they're much more safe. The majority of injuries annually from fireworks though are from smaller devices, like fountains and sparklers. The Charlotte fire department offers these tips for safety:
- Buy from reliable fireworks vendors Never alter fireworks or try to make your own
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks
- Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults.
- Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency
- Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly, if a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again
- Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees and other vegetation
- Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container