Looking to make a big boom at your Fourth of July party this year? Now you can — legally — thanks to a new state law that goes into effect in July.
Starting July 1, 2022, Ohio House Bill 172 will allow people to set off consumer-grade fireworks on private property on select holidays each year.
Prior to the bill, Ohioans were allowed to buy consumer fireworks, also known as 1.4G fireworks (professional fireworks are labeled 1.3G), from a licensed manufacturer or store but were not allowed to detonate them in the state. In fact, all purchased 1.4G fireworks had be taken out of Ohio within 48 hours, except for sparklers, smoke bombs and other “trick and novelty” items.
That law never really stopped people from setting off their own private firework displays, as any hearing-abled person can attest to in the week leading up to the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. But HB 172 officially gives the OK for Ohioans to discharge pyrotechnics like firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles on roughly 20 days a year.
When Can You Set Off Fireworks?
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year’s Day
- Cinco de Mayo
- Memorial Day, including the Saturday and Sunday preceding Memorial Day
- July 3, 4 and 5 along with the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday before and after the Fourth of July
- Labor Day, and the Saturday and Sunday before that
Note: Even though it’s considered legal to set off fireworks on those days, the law does not supersede or “limit the enforcement of any ordinance, resolution, or statute that regulates noise, disturbance of the peace, or disorderly conduct.”
And any individual county, township or municipality may restrict the dates and times fireworks can be discharged, or revoke the right altogether.
Who Can Set Off Fireworks?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has purchased 1.4G fireworks from a licensed Ohio sales location.
Who Can’t Set Off Fireworks?
People under the age of 18 and those who are under the influence of “any intoxicating liquor, beer or controlled substance.” If you’re caught setting off fireworks while wasted, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
Where Can You Set Off Fireworks?
You may set off fireworks on your own private property or the private property of another person, as long as they give permission. Fireworks must be set off outdoors, with aerial projectiles detonated at least 150 feet away from spectators, and non-aerial fireworks at least 50 feet away. You may not set off fireworks indoors, on public property or during drought conditions/red flag warnings or “weather hazards.”
In July of 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed another fireworks bill, Senate Bill 113, because he felt it was too lax and didn’t focus enough on the safety of fireworks stores and warehouse. HB 172 includes provisions regulating the size of and requiring sprinkler systems for fireworks retailers.
When DeWine signed HB 172 in November 2021, he released a statement saying:
“(HB 172) limits the discharge of fireworks to the more traditional holidays that Ohioans celebrate, while recognizing our numerous culturally diverse holidays. The compromise bill also reduces, by half, the allowable increase in showroom size originally offered in Senate Bill 113, while requiring enhanced fire sprinkler systems. The measure further prohibits the discharge of fireworks while in possession of, or under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances or on another person’s property without that person’s permission.”
Learn more about Ohio’s HB 172 fireworks bill and see answers to frequently asked questions at com.ohio.gov.
If you’re looking to shoot off fireworks in Kentucky, state law is a little different across the river. The law basically gives the go-ahead for anyone over the age of 18 to purchase and set off fireworks, as long as they are at least 200 feet away from a person or building. A list of approved consumer fireworks is provided in Kentucky’s Revised Statutes. Note: Each individual county or city in Kentucky may also enact its own additional restrictions, so check with your local government before detonating anything.
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