Are Fireworks Legal in Colorado?
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What Fireworks Are Legal in Colorado?

Independence Day might have come and gone, but that doesn’t stop the people of Colorado from setting off additional fireworks. You can expect to hear – and see – these displays throughout the rest of the summer as people finish off their stash in preparation for next year’s festivities. If you’re eyeing the clearance rack or passing by a fireworks stand this summer, you might be wondering which fireworks are legal to set off in the state. Consider the sale and regulation of fireworks in Colorado before swiping your card.

What Fireworks Are Legal?

Colorado law allows for the purchase and use of certain types of fireworks, but only during certain times of the year. Generally, the laws in Colorado allow for citizens to set off fireworks that are non-exploding and do not leave the ground. More specifically, these fireworks create visual displays through combustion and other effects. Examples of permissible fireworks under state law include:

  • Ground spinners
  • Fountains
  • Dipped sticks
  • Sparklers
  • Tube devices
  • Trick noise makers
  • Illuminating torches

Under Colorado law, permissible fireworks cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of explosive combustion. Any more than this constitutes an illegal firework, which could lead to criminal charges under applicable Colorado statutes.

Which Fireworks Are Illegal?

State law specifically prohibits the sale and ignition of fireworks that explode, such as:

  • Rockets
  • Roman candles
  • Cherry bombs
  • Firecrackers
  • M-80s
  • Mortars

Who Can Sell Fireworks?

Not everyone can sell fireworks – under Colorado law, you must have a license to do so, and you may only sell the permissible fireworks outlined above. It is illegal for anyone to bring illegal fireworks from another state into Colorado for sale. However, you may buy illegal fireworks in Colorado to export if you have a valid export license.

Penalties for Violating Fireworks Laws

Local law enforcement agencies are responsible for maintaining and enforcing the Colorado fireworks laws. Anyone who buys or ignites an illegal firework within the state could face charges for a Class 3 misdemeanor, a crime that carries a fine of $50 to $750 and up to six months in county jail. However, municipalities may set and enforce stricter ordinances  if they wish.

Stricter penalties may exist for reckless use of fireworks or property damage or injury resulting from the use of fireworks. For example, you could face fines up to $750,000 and a jail sentence up to 12 years for starting a fire with fireworks – on top of that, you may be required to pay restitution for any property damage that results. People who are injured by a firework could file a personal injury lawsuit or even a premise liability lawsuit.

Authority By Municipality and County

Finally, it’s important to remember that fireworks rules can vary greatly in different municipalities. The state gives local entities the authority to further restrict the use and sale of fireworks outside of what’s outlined in Colorado law. As a result, what might be legal in your zip code might be illegal in the next town over. For the most accurate assessment of what’s allowed in your area, call your local law enforcement office and ask for more details.

Fireworks can be a fun pastime, but they also fall under the purview of state and local laws. Before you head out and buy fireworks this season, be aware of the rules regarding the purchase and use of fireworks. Violating these laws could result in jail time, fines, and the payment of restitution, depending on the severity of the occurrence. Laws can also vary depending on city or county ordinance, so be sure to check with local authorities before setting off any fireworks or combustibles on your property and ensure you’re complying with local laws.