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Making Sense of Ohio's Fireworks Laws

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Making Sense of Ohio's Fireworks Laws (© surachit/wikicommons)
Ohio has one of the most restrictive fireworks laws in the country. There are some consumer fireworks that are legal to set off and others that are legal to buy, but not ignite without an exhibitor's license. Of course, in addition to the state laws, many individual communities have fireworks statues. Here's what you need to know to stay legal this July 4th season.

What's Legal:

According to the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3743, it is legal for those age 18 and older to purchase consumer fireworks from a licensed dealer. These include firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and fountains. However, purchasers must sign an affidavit that they will transport the fireworks out of state within 48 hours of purchase.

Novelty fireworks, which include sparklers, snaps and smoke bombs may be purchased and used within Ohio.

What's Not Legal:

It's not legal to discharge non-novelty, consumer fireworks, such as firecrackers and bottle rockets, in Ohio without an exhibitor's license (even though it IS legal to purchase these items.) Professional-grade fireworks are not legal to purchase or discharge in Ohio without a professional operator's license.

Penalties for Using Fireworks Illegally:

Using consumer fireworks like firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and fountains in Ohio without a license is a 1st degree misdemeanor and punishable by a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail.

How and Why to Get a Fireworks Exhibitors License:

You can legally discharge many fireworks in Ohio by obtaining an exhibitor's license. To qualify for this license, you need to pay a fee ($50 in 2012), submit a written and signed application that states you are proficient in the use, safety and storage of fireworks, and score at least 70 percent on the written, fireworks proficiency exam. Any one with a felony conviction cannot obtain a fireworks exhibitor's license. For more information, and to print the necessary forms, visit the Ohio State Department of Commerce Outdoor Display requirements page.

For More Information:

For more information about Ohio's fireworks statues, visit the Ohio State Department of Commerce's fireworks fact sheet.
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