The answer is that it depends where you are. For example, the City of Milwaukee, by local ordinance, prohibits the sale and use of all fireworks, which is defined as any item that emits smoke, a bang or sparkle. These items are considered illegal and can carry a fine between $500 to $1,000. Further, the Milwaukee Police Department has announced that it will enforce the law in the name of public safety.
Other local municipalities outside of Milwaukee permit certain fireworks such as caps or sparklers. Residents outside of Milwaukee should consult local law for further information on the law governing the sale, possession or use of certain fireworks.
Under state law, permits are required for any type of firework that explodes or leaves the ground, such as firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets or mortars. State law does not require permits for certain other types of fireworks, such as sparklers shorter than 36 inches, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers and confetti poppers with less than a quarter grain of explosive mixture and novelty devices that spin or move to the ground. Further, state law does not impose any age restriction.
It is important to keep in mind that local ordinances may be more restrictive than state law governing the sale, possession and use of fireworks. For more information regarding the legal sale, possession and use of fireworks consult local law. You can also review the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s (DOJ) memorandum summarizing Wisconsin’s fireworks law.
For more on Wisconsin’s municipal or criminal laws please go to the home page of Jacob A. Manian and click the link on the left side for Criminal. Please have a safe and happy Fourth!