OnFocus – The 4th of July is just around the corner and Attorney General Brad Schimel would like to wish everyone a happy Independence Day, and provide a reminder about Wisconsin’s fireworks laws.
Citizens and visitors of Wisconsin should remember that there are state laws and local ordinances regulating and restricting the use of fireworks. These laws and ordinances exist to protect the public from these potentially dangerous explosives. Those celebrating the holiday should also remember that many local ordinances are stricter than state law when it comes to the regulation of fireworks. If you have questions about what fireworks are and are not permitted in your community, contact your local law enforcement agency.
Wisconsin state law allows the sale, possession, and use of sparklers (not exceeding 36 inches in length), stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than ¼ grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. There is no age restriction to this law.
The following fireworks are illegal without a permit: firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, and any other firework. A commonly used rule of thumb is that a permit is required if the device explodes or leaves the ground. The sale of these restricted fireworks to a resident of this state without a valid permit is also illegal.
There is an exception in the law for nonresidents. A nonresident may possess fireworks in the state without a permit but may not use fireworks in Wisconsin without a valid Wisconsin permit.
A person who possesses, uses, or sells fireworks contrary to law, is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation. Each firework illegally possessed, used, or sold may be a separate violation.
A parent or guardian who allows a minor to possess or use fireworks (not including those for which no permits are required) is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation.
Permits are issued by municipalities and are only valid in the city, village, or town where the permit was issued.