CHICAGO — Fireworks and the Fourth of July pretty much go together like red, white and blue.

A number of places from the city to the suburbs will host spectacular fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day with people doing the same in their own yards.

As that happens, a common question continues to be asked by residents of this state: Are fireworks illegal in Illinois?

WGN News Now asked Teri Ross, Esq., Executive Director of Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO), the state’s largest non-profit legal aid resource, that very question.

“Illinois law forbids any kind of consumer fireworks. So, this would be familiar things like roman candles, bottle rockets, chasers, sky lanterns, anything that you can think of as being a mini firework,” Ross said. “Illinois does allow non-consumer fireworks, and those are things like sparklers, smoke devices, snake or worm pellets, but it’s pretty limited. The law is pretty limited in Illinois.”

Below is a list of “Consumer Fireworks” from the ILAO:

  • Handheld fireworks
  • Bottle rockets
  • Skyrockets
  • Roman candles
  • Chasers
  • Buzz bombs
  • Ground items other than those identified as approved “Consumer Fireworks”
  • Helicopters
  • Missiles
  • Pinwheels or any other twirling devices
  • Planes
  • Sky Lanterns
  • Firecrackers (all types)

Illinois law bans the sale, possession, and use of all “Consumer Fireworks,” and those caught violating it could get up to a year in prison along with a $2,500 fine.

The federal regulations ban M-80s, cherry bombs, and a large group of all fireworks, with states along with cities free to ban what’s left.

For example, sparklers are legal at the state level, but in Chicago and several other Illinois cities, they are illegal, so be sure and check the laws and ordinances in your city before you celebrate this Fourth of July.

In 2021, there were more than 200 firework-related injuries in Illinois, and one death.

If you’re thinking about setting off fireworks, Ross urges you to also keep this in mind:

“Illinois bans fireworks for a number of reasons. One is just the nuisance, and, in some cases, it can traumatize people and pets,” she said. “So, think about anyone who has been the victim of or a survivor of gun violence, veterans who have experienced combat, and of course for pets, their hearing is hyper-sensitive.”

Below is the list of “Consumer Fireworks” that are legal in Illinois:

  • Sparklers
  • Smoke Devices
  • Trick noisemakers (aka: party poppers)
  • Snappers
  • Snake or glow worm pellets
  • Trick matches

You can hear more of Ross’ interview in the video above.