Things just got a little more confusing about the legality of fireworks in New York state. You see billboards all over the place advertising big sales on them, but aren't they illegal in NY state? No, they're not illegal – kind of.

Let's clear it up by saying that "fireworks" are still illegal. That will make it a little easier to understand. The big fireworks that you see in the sky and that make the huge booming sounds are still illegal.

However, according to the NYS Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, it has become legal in certain counties to use what are considered "sparkling devices".  The official definition for the ones that are legal include fireworks that are “ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke. They are also limited in sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.”

So think about sparklers, party poppers, smoke balls, snappers and things like that.

Counties where those types of "sparkling devices" are legal:

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Niagara

However, there are still some rules that apply even in those counties.  You have to be 18 to purchase them, and they can only be bought between June 1st and July 5th.

Counties where it is illegal to sell, buy, or possess fireworks:

  • Chautauqua
  • Erie
  • Genesee
  • Orleans
  • Wyoming

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