Illinois 1 of 3 states banning you from using fireworks
Independence Day means residents of 47 states will celebrate their freedom by choosing to set off fireworks. Not in Illinois.
Independence Day is a time to celebrate sacrifices by those who died to secure freedoms we enjoy today. It calls for backyard barbecues and a booming night sky.
Since 1942, the Illinois’ Pyrotechnic Use Act prohibits residents from buying and using fireworks other than novelty fireworks such as sparklers and smoke bombs. Violating the law is a class A misdemeanor, with fines ranging from $75 to $2,500.
Rockford police will fine residents $750 if they’re found partaking in pyrotechnics. Elgin just raised its penalty for those caught lighting off fireworks three times within a year from $750 to $1,500.
Fireworks ignite criticism because of safety concerns. However, firework consumption nationwide hit an all-time high in 2022 with more than 461 million pounds, up by more than 57 million pounds since 2020. But injuries fell by more than 5,000 during that time and have remained pretty steady as use has grown over 20 years.
Illinois lawmakers from both parties sponsored a measure expanding novelty fireworks laws to include ground sparklers for Illinoisans ages 18 and older. It failed.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, has tried to repeal the ban on home-use fireworks for years because many Illinoisans simply buy them in another state every year.
“I think it's just ridiculous that every state around us is making money off of Illinois citizens and here we are once again giving up money that could better be earned and spent here in Illinois,” Rose said in 2022.
After more than 80 years, it’s never too late for lawmakers to grant residents fireworks freedom, and benefit from added revenue, too.
Ohio changed its fireworks laws in 2022, allowing residents to shoot off fireworks on certain days such as July 3-5, Labor Day, New Year’s Eve and other holidays.
If used carelessly, fireworks can lead to serious injury. But laws should be made to penalize those who act irresponsibly, not to remove freedoms from responsible citizens – and especially not on Independence Day.