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Hardly Any Fireworks Are Legal In Chicago, And Some Of Those Got Recalled

By Patty Wetli | June 30, 2015 5:28am | Updated on July 3, 2017 9:52am
 Fireworks in Winnemac Park
Fireworks in Winnemac Park
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

LINCOLN SQUARE — You'd never know it from the booms audible during all hours of the day and night, but fireworks are illegal in Chicago.

Anything that's handheld, explodes or takes flight is off limits and can result in a $200 to $500 fine. That ban extends to sparklers, which are OK for use elsewhere in Illinois but not within the city.

Now even some of the legal fireworks have been recalled.

The TNT three-pack of Red, White, & Blue Smoke fireworks, sold from May 2017 through June 2017, has injured at least three people due to unexpected explosions when lit. (Check for item number 351064, UPC 27736036561.)

These fireworks have been recalled. [TNT Fireworks]

So what's left for those who'd like to celebrate the holiday with a little snap, crackle and pop?

Party poppers — those gun- or bottle-shaped spewers of confetti — are totally legal. So are smoke bombs (with major caveat above), snakes, "fountain" sprays of sparks and those things that go "snap" when you throw them at the sidewalk.

Trick noisemakers — like "booby traps" and "auto burglar alarms" — also fall into the category of legit novelty fireworks.

"Cigarette loads," hidden inside cigarettes, may sound like an accident waiting to happen, but they're also completely legal.

If none of these options satisfies your inner pyromania, there is a loophole in the "no fireworks" law.

If, and this is a mighty big if, you applied for and received a permit from the city, you're free to turn your backyard or friendly neighborhood park into Navy Pier.

Oh, and you'd also need the written consent of your alderman. And $1 million in insurance.

Then you're good to go any time before 11 p.m. or after 6 a.m., except you still can't launch bottle rockets or Roman candles or set off firecrackers, which are illegal in Illinois. And M-80s have been banned nationwide since the 1960s.

Now, if we'd never revolted against the British, all manner of rockets and shooting sprays of flames would be legal, without a license or permit.

But then there wouldn't be a Fourth of July.

Related: Fireworks Versus Gunshots? Even The Experts Can't Tell The Difference