The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is warning those wanting to participate in the festivities this Fourth of July weekend to be safe and beware of homemade and illegal fireworks.
“Do you know the difference between legal and illegal fireworks? Not knowing can lead to serious harm such as severe injuries, disfigurement, or even death,” the ATF says.
Legal fireworks fall primarily into two categories: Consumer Fireworks and Display Fireworks. The difference being consumer fireworks, which are sold in stores, cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of flash powder for ground devices or 120 milligrams for aerial devices.
Fireworks that exceed those limits are classified as display fireworks, which require anyone importing, manufacturing, dealing in, or otherwise receiving them to have an ATF license or permit.
Also, legal fireworks are marked brightly with decorated paper and have manufacturing information listed one them.
On the other hand, illegal fireworks (homemade explosives) are often wrapped in plain brown or white paper with no identifying marks.
“Most importantly, homemade explosives do not meet safety or quality standards and are even extremely dangerous when not even being used,” the ATF warns.
Although the legality of homemade fireworks varies by state to state and even county to county, it’s best to check the local ordnances if you’re unsure.