A guide to buying and using fireworks in your state
Every year on the Fourth of July, the sky is filled with sparkling fireworks. It's a grand tradition and one that Americans have come to love and cherish. Fireworks are often used to celebrate other events, including New Year's Eve, weddings and anniversary celebrations. The laws regarding fireworks vary from state to state, and Maryland is one location that does not look favorably on the exploding devices. Maryland's laws regarding fireworks differ from county to county, but there are some general rules that apply to the entire state. Be sure to check the rules of your specific county before buying or using anything that might be considered a firework.
Q: Are fireworks legal in Maryland?
A: No. It is illegal to privately possess or discharge fireworks in the state of Maryland. There is a $500 fine if caught using or possessing a firework. It is also illegal to sell a firework, which carries a $1,000 fine.
Q: What constitutes a firework?
A: A firework is considered to be a flammable device that explodes, launches a projectile into the air or ignites and moves along the ground. Fireworks include any firecracker, skyrocket or Roman candle. Sparklers are also illegal in certain parts of Maryland, including Montgomery County and Prince George's County.
Snap-and-pop noise makers, snakes and party poppers are allowed and not considered fireworks. Toy caps are also permitted if the explosive content is under 0.25 grains and are designed so your hand can't touch the cap.
Q: Are there any exceptions?
A: Public fireworks displays are legal with proper permits and insurance. These permits and more information are available on the Maryland State Police website. Some counties, including Charles County and Calvert County, also allow hand-held sparklers and ignitable snakes. Check your county to see what, if anything, is permissible.
Q: What about the Fourth of July?
A: These rules apply on the Fourth of July; however, public displays put on by a town or event venue are allowed under the law. While you're not permitted to set off your own fireworks, even on Independence Day, you can enjoy one of the fireworks shows in your area of Maryland. Check your local paper for times and locations. If you live in one of the counties that allows sparklers, be sure to follow proper safety procedures when lighting them so they don't burn your hand or face. Always have something on hand to put out the sparkler if needed.