South Carolina Fireworks Laws

Fireworks stand on route 29 in rural Virginia
••• Visions of America / Joe Sohm / Getty Images

If you're planning to celebrate the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve in South Carolina and want to purchase some fireworks to light up during the festivities, it's important to know the state laws regarding these pyrotechnics displays.

As a general rule, South Carolina fireworks laws are pretty loose, especially compared to the stricter regulations of its neighbor North Carolina. In fact, almost all consumer-grade fireworks are legal in the state.

However, you must be 16 years old to purchase any fireworks in South Carolina and they cannot be sold from a tent, canopy, malleable structure, or automobile, but should be sold from a licensed and registered fireworks stand or store instead.

Additionally, if you plan to put on larger, professional fireworks shows in South Carolina, you will need to apply to the State Fire Marshal at least 15 working days before the show. There is an insurance requirement, and you can find out more information on the official website.

Legal and Illegal Fireworks in South Carolina

South Carolina fireworks laws aren't just less strict than North Carolina, they're far less strict than most states. In fact, everything that's not banned on a federal level is permissible for use in the state including bottle rockets, mortars, spinners, cakes, and aerial fireworks.

It is pretty common for residents from North Carolina (and other states) to slip just across the border to purchase the higher grade fireworks, but remember that it is still illegal to possess many South Carolina purchased fireworks in other states—be sure to check North Carolina fireworks regulations if you plan to buy your pyrotechnics in the southern state and bring them back north.

There are a few fireworks that you can't have in the Palmetto State. Large explosive firecrackers like M-80 and Cherry Bombs are illegal in the state as well as on a federal level, and small rockets are specifically prohibited if they are less than one-half inch in diameter and less than three inches long.

Fireworks Safety Tips for South Carolina

Since South Carolina fireworks laws are pretty loose, many people assume that they're much more dangerous, which is not necessarily the case. As long as fireworks are treated with respect, there's usually not much danger at all.

In fact, the majority of fireworks injuries annually from fireworks though are from smaller devices, like fountains and sparklers. The Charlotte fire department offers these tips for safety:

  • Only buy from reliable fireworks vendors, and never alter fireworks or try to make your own.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place until use.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks.
  • Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults who are not impaired.
  • Always have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency.
  • Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly. If a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again, but submerge it in water and dispose of it.
  • Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees, and other vegetation.
  • Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container.

If you follow these tips and use a bit of common sense and respect when dealing with semi-dangerous explosives, you and your family should have a bright and lively celebration with these pyrotechnics no matter what holiday you're celebrating.