Iowa and Illinois are among states that prohibit nearly all consumer fireworks, with a few limited exceptions.
The only fireworks legal for purchase by consumers in Iowa are sparklers and snakes. All other consumer fireworks are banned.
The ban followed fire that started when someone lit fireworks inside a store where they were sold in 1931 in Spencer, Iowa. That fire destroyed most of downtown Spencer.
A similar fire July 4, 1936 in Remsen, Iowa may have inspired legislation passed the next year to ban most fireworks in Iowa. The Remsen fire caused about $600,000 worth of damage according to the Spencer Daily Reporter.
The state’s firework ban was passed in 1937. Iowa Code 727 bans all fireworks except certain sparklers, toy snakes and caps.
Legislators have tried, but so far not succeeded, to introduce legislation that would legalize fireworks in Iowa. Such legislation would also keep revenue, including taxes, from fireworks sales in Iowa instead of giving it up to other states such as Missouri and South Dakota where fireworks sales are legal. Safety advocates and fire marshals from across Iowa have fought hard against legalizing fireworks in the state.
Fireworks are also illegal in Illinois. The only exceptions are novelty fireworks like sparklers, snakes and snap-n-pops. State law says approved fireworks must be labeled 1.4G consumer, which means they produce low-level aerial effects.
Cities and counties in Illinois are allowed to pass ordinances that ban or allow the use or sale of fireworks according to the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office. Some municipalities allow a wider range of novelty fireworks such as cones, parachutes and fountains.
For the State Fire Marshal’s list of approved and prohibited fireworks in Illinois, click here.