August 9, 2012
By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst
You asked if there have been any legislative proposals in the last 15 years to legalize all fireworks in the state.
No bills have been proposed in the last 15 years to legalize all fireworks in Connecticut. But several have been proposed to make all fireworks, including sparklers, illegal for consumers (e.g., Senate Bill 1006 (2001), House Bill 5669 (2003), and House Bill 6197 (2005)). The bills died in committee.
With the exception of people conducting fireworks displays under a permit from the state fire marshal, the law prohibits anyone from selling or offering fireworks for sale at retail or using, exploding, or possessing them. Sparklers and “fountains” are legal. Anyone age 16 or older may buy, use, possess, or sell at retail “nonexplosive and nonaerial” sparklers or fountains containing no more than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture per item.
The law defines “fireworks” as any combustible or explosive composition, or any substance or combination of substances or article used to produce a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation. Fireworks include blank cartridges; toy pistols, cannons, canes, or guns that use explosives; fire-propelled balloons; firecrackers; torpedoes; skyrockets; Roman candles; Daygo bombs; any fireworks containing an explosive or flammable compound;
and any tablets or other device containing explosive substance. The term does not include toy pistols, canes, guns, or other devices that use paper caps manufactured in accordance with federal regulations (CGS § 29-356).
The law defines “sparklers” as a wire or stick coated with pyrotechnic composition that produces a shower of sparks upon ignition. It defines “fountain” as any cardboard or heavy paper cone or cylindrical tube containing pyrotechnic mixture that produces a shower of colored sparks or smoke when ignited. Fountain includes (1) a spike fountain, which has a spike for inserting the fountain into the ground; (2) a base fountain, which has a wooden or plastic base for placing the fountain on the ground; and (3) a handle fountain, which is a hand-held device with a wooden or cardboard handle. Sparklers and fountains cannot contain (1) magnesium, except for magnalium or magnesium-aluminum alloy; (2) more than five grams of chlorate or perchlorate salts per item; or (3) more than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture per item. When one or more fountain is mounted on a common base, the total pyrotechnic composition cannot exceed 200 grams (CGS §§ 29-356 & 357).
Violators are subject to a fine up to $100, imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both. But if an illegal sales violation involves more than $10,000 in sales, it is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. The penalty for a permit violation that results in an injury or death is a fine up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both (CGS §§ 29-356 & 29-357).