Nightly fireworks, lasting well into the evening, are disturbing the sleep of residents in and around Utica and Rome. Are these noisy fireworks even legal in New York?

SPOILER ALERT: Probably not.

It used to be you had to travel over state lines to buy fireworks for your July 4th barbecue (not that it's even July yet) but a change to the laws in 2018 made it possible for New York residents to purchase certain types of fireworks, except in certain downstate counties. Most fireworks remain illegal in New York, and in Oneida County. 

That hasn't stopped retailers and pop-up vendors from selling them, and people from shooting them off at all hours of the night. In NYC, fireworks complaints are up 4000%.

So what is actually legal? 

"The only legal fireworks in NYS are “Sparkling Devices”, which are defined as ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and/or a colored flame, audible cracking or whistling noise and smoke. Furthermore, legal fireworks generally have a fuse which originates on the top of the device. Common examples of legal fireworks are sparklers, fountains (cylindrical & cone), and novelties such as lanterns / tanks / poppers / snappers / smoke bombs."

"Illegal Fireworks – are anything other than “Sparkling Devices”. Illegal fireworks generally launch or project pyrotechnics into the air. Furthermore, illegal fireworks generally have a fuse which originates in the bottom of the device. Common examples of illegal fireworks are firecrackers, M80s, flaming balls, bottle rockets, mortars, spinners, and roman candles."

You can find specifics in the Penal Code Law 270.00.

If you're caught with illegal fireworks, "the items may be confiscated and the offender issued an Appearance Ticket for a class B Misdemeanor," says the Utica Police Department.

On top of that, you're likely in violation of your town or city's noise ordinance.


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