Making Sense of Ohio's Fireworks Laws

Legal firework paraphernalia is displayed at a Kmart store June 27, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Consumers are picking up last minute sales on Fourth of July items as the traditional American holiday quickly approaches.
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Ohio has one of the most restrictive fireworks laws in the United States. There are some consumer fireworks that are legal to set off within the Buckeye State 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...or any other day of the year.

What's Legal

According to the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3743, it is legal for anyone 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 in 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.

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 2018), submit a written and signed application that states you are proficient in the use, safety and storage of fireworks (download the application here), and score at least 70 percent on the written, fireworks proficiency exam. Anyone 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.