Is it Legal to Make Fireworks?
SPECIAL REPORT: Fireworking, the Law and You
There have been so many questions about what it takes to make fireworks legally. Far and away most of the responses to our recent fireworks survey had something to do with the legalities of fireworks making. You can see the survey results here.
Here’s the first thing to know. The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (shorthand is “ATF’”, “BATF,” or “BATFE”) is the agency which primarily regulates the manufacture of explosives in this country. Yes, fireworks are explosives. The ATF has said repeatedly in writing that if you want to make fireworks for your own non-commercial use, that it is Federally legal for you to do so. And you do not need an ATF explosives manufacturing license to do so. Here’s a link to one of their letters stating this. Save it and print it out.
ATF Fireworks Exemption Letter
With the help of our friend Ned Gorski, we’ve put together a 19-page easy to follow report entitled “Fireworking, the Law and You.” This downloadable PDF file is available FREE to you today. Simply click the link below to download.
Get Fireworking, the Law and You
Ned goes over what it takes to make fireworks legally, and even shows you how to make a magazine inexpensively to use for legal storage of the fireworks you make.
In addition to the Federal regulations, you need to understand legalities in your town, county or in your state. As far as I know, there is no single website you can go to for legal info on local and state fireworks making.
Get Fireworking, the Law and You
I suggest you first go to your state’s legislative web site, and research “fireworks” there. Download everything you find, and follow all cross references and links. Be sure you understand your state’s legal distinctions between “fireworks” and “explosives.” Remember that although all fireworks really ARE explosives, laws and regulations frequently treat explosives and fireworks differently.
Remember that if the laws do not restrict or prohibit an activity, then you are free do to it. You may find that it is simply not possible to legally make fireworks in your state. But, either way, you need to know.
Once you have researched your state laws and regs, then check for county/city ordinances. If the info is not available online, check your local library. If you strike out there, try your fire department.
But the bottom line is that you can make and store fireworks for your own use legally without needing an ATF license. If you transport them, then you do need a license. If you store them they must be stored according to ATF regs (in the “Orange Book”), whether you have an ATF license or not.
I suggest you read every page of it.
If you decide to get any kind of ATF license for making, transporting, buying, storing fireworks, my recommendation is that you apply for an explosives manufacturing license. You can download the application for the license and the ATF reg’s on the topic free from the ATF website:
Again, if you want to make fireworks, then apply for Explosives Manufacturing. User licenses do not allow you to make anything. Manufacturing licenses let you do everything you would want.
Finally, the Fed’s do not regulate your actual shooting/use of fireworks. That comes under local and state laws.