As one municipal fireworks display after another cancels this year, it is time to make plans for our own Independence Day celebrations. So what are the current Minnesota Fireworks laws? What is legal? What is not?
Here is the short story. Minnesota has the strictest fireworks laws in the region. Pretty much everything you would consider real fireworks is illegal here. All we can legally use are sparklers, things like cones that shoot sparks on the ground, snakes and poppers – nothing that shoots into the sky.
Our most recent expansion of legal fireworks was in 2002 with Minn. Stat. Sec. 624.20(c). This is when sparklers and the like became legal in Minnesota. There has been a recent effort to expand fireworks laws and our Governor Walz has stated that he is on board with signing the law. However, as of late May 2020, the law has not been expanded. It would take a big push to get it through by July 4th. We will update and share if that should happen.
Minnesota Fireworks Laws
Fireworks are illegal on public property. They are meant to be used on private property. Children cannot legally purchase fireworks. Bring an ID when purchasing. Any lawful vendor will ask for it.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, “[t]he sale, possession and use of certain non-explosive and non-aerial consumer fireworks is permitted in Minnesota”. As we mentioned above, legal fireworks fall into three categories:
- Sparklers – These can be wire or wood and cannot contain more than “100 grams of mixture” per sparkler. This will likely include any sparklers you can buy around here.
- Cones and tubes that emit sparks, but stay on the ground. Examples include:
- Fountains – cylindrical or cone shaped: produce a shower of colored sparks or smoke and sometimes a whistle. The “total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 500 grams”. If you are only using one at a time, this will not be an issue. You could be outside the law if you stack the fountains together.
- Illuminating Torches. I could not find an example of these online. I think maybe they mean glow wands, but there is no description
- Wheels – These are similar to the fountains, but are nailed or tied to a post. They revolve and shower the sparks.
- Ground Spinners – These operate like the wheels but are used on the ground.
- Flitter Sparkler – These are narrow paper tubes attached to a stick that sparkle when lit.
- Flash/Strobe – Emit a bright light.
- Novelty items with less than “twenty-five hundredths grains of explosive mixture.” These include:
- Glow worms
- Smoke devices
- Trick noisemakers
- Paper streamers
- Party poppers
- String poppers
- Drop pops
An easy way to know if your fireworks are legal is, if it flies or explodes it is illegal in Minnesota. Reputable dealers will not be selling these in Minnesota.
Examples of illegal explosive and aerial fireworks are:
- Sky rockets
- Bottle rockets
- Missile type rockets
- Helicopters, aerial spinners, planes, UFOs
- Roman Candles
- Mines or shells
- 3G Display (special or class B) Fireworks
- Aerial shells
- and Theatrical pyrotechnics
Leaving the State for Fireworks
Before deciding to just go camping elsewhere, you should know that Wisconsin will sell fireworks to Minnesota residents, but we cannot legally use them in Wisconsin (or Minnesota). North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa are a little more lax about fireworks and about use by non-residents. All these states allow municipalities to enact stricter laws, which means you would want to pull up the local ordinances before going anywhere specific. The Minnesota House Research Department prepared a summary of various state laws in 2017. You can find a PDF of that research here.