A Midwest Reaction to Connecticut’s Illegal Fireworks Laws
One of the very few things I miss from living in the midwest was the ability to shoot fireworks. When I talk about "fireworks", I mean stuff that can do some real damage if you are not careful or know what you are doing. The sparklers, fountains, and crackly-type fireworks for sale around here would make someone from Kansas or Missouri laugh.
My cousin Tim and I would wreak havoc on my neighborhood every 4th of July. So much havoc, in fact, one year, we just couldn't wait til the actual day, so we took some bottle rockets out to the front yard, and long story short, one of them landed in the neighbor's dry fern bush and went up in flames. We were lucky that day because Mr. Youngberg said he was "looking" to get rid of the bushes anyway.
Tim would come to visit leading up to the 4th because the use of fireworks inside the city limits of Emporia was illegal. In Kansas, fireworks are legal for consumer use, but each city and county has the option of making them legal or not within their borders.
Fireworks are a completely different life experience in Kansas than it is here in Connecticut, mainly because they are illegal here. I am sure you know that already, but it was one of the first things I asked about when I moved to this part of the country, "can I shoot fireworks?" The short answer to that question is "no", according to CT.gov.
"Fireworks are not allowed by Law in Connecticut for use by non-professional, non-licensed users. Sparklers and fountains, which technically are not considered fireworks, may be sold, but may not be legally sold to, or used by persons younger than 16."
Now, let's break that statement from the state of Connecticut down, "not allowed...for use by non-professional, non-licensed users." So I have to have a license to shoot fireworks? That seems complicated and too much like a hassle, I still need to get a fishing license. Next, "Sparklers, fountains...may not be legally sold to, or used by persons younger than 16." That is funny to me because, at age 10, I was holding a firecracker in my hand, lighting it, waiting for the wick to burn as long as I could, then tossing the cracker in the air so it would explode mid-flight. That sounds crazy, right? Welcome to red-neck Kansas baby!
Here is a pic of my cousin Tim holding a huge mortar as he prepares for a show back in Kansas.
Fireworks, the only real traditional red-neck hobby I truly embraced, without really knowing just how "red-neck" it was till I was much older. So, Connecticut residents, if you want to participate in the pastime of fireworks on your own, not at a public display somewhere, you'll have to go across the border to do your celebrating. Of course, going across the border, purchasing fireworks, and bringing them back is illegal, please don't do that. Here's a pic of some items available where higher-grade fireworks are legal for consumers.
In the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, fireworks laws vary and can also be left up to the county or municipality, so make sure you check. Only in the last 5 years or so has sparklers and ground-type "fireworks" been legal in New Jersey. The same types of items are legal in New York and Connecticut as well, all are very low-grade fireworks and nothing that will go over 12 feet in the air or produce any type of real explosions, just sparks, and crackly cinders. Apparently, if you want the "real" stuff, you have to make the journey to Pennsylvania for the big mortar shells, bottle rockets, roman candles, M-80s, firecrackers, etc.
Indeed, the stories I have relayed to my more-than-significant other about my fireworks escapades back in the day have horrified her, but no one ultimately got hurt that I was with. I have stories of others I knew personally who tried to modify fireworks on their own, one was killed and the friend he was with had to go through extensive therapy to walk again. Fireworks are no joke and if you choose to purchase and shoot them on your own, please be careful and follow the safety guidelines. Have a happy, safe and sane 4th of July! Now, here's a listing of public displays in the area...