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Are fireworks legal in Illinois?

Keep your family's pet in mind during Fourth of July fireworks
Keep your family's pet in mind during Fourth of July fireworks 01:00

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Are fireworks legal in Illinois?  Based on all of the amateur shows exploding over the holiday every year, one might mistakenly think the answer is "yes."

In reality, The Pyrotechnic Use Act prohibits the possession, sale, or use of consumer fireworks, such as bottle rockets, firecrackers, and aerial shells. So-called novelty fireworks, sparklers, or snakes, are allowed for people older than 18. 

The problem has gotten so bad in Winnemac Park in Chicago's Lincoln Square that the alderman there is taking action to stop the amateur displays. 

"Yeah, we want to get the message out to everybody citywide who may think of coming to Winnemac Park that it does not appear like the activity will be happening this year,"  40th Ward Ald. Andre Vasquez said.  

What are the penalties? 

The larger, professional-grade fireworks require a permit from the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal. These permits are typically issued to trained professionals or organizations conducting public fireworks displays.

Professional displays like this one over the Chicago River require a permit. Thinkstock

Violation of fireworks laws in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor, with fines ranging from $75 to $2,500. Violators can be sentenced to prison, for up to 365 days. Probation can be up to two years. 

Legal in Indiana 

Across the border in Indiana, the sale and use of fireworks is legal. There are numerous stores just over the state line and it's big business.  Most of those stores are packed with customers around July 4 and some even hire extra staff for crowd control. 

Certain, more generic fireworks packages are also sold in retail stores. 

Illinois residents often sneak over the border to stock up. Illinois State Police admit there's only so much that can be done to enforce it.

Municipalities do have restrictions on when people can blast them. It's typically between 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. but can be extended to midnight on July 4 and other holidays. 

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