North Carolina and South Carolina share a few similarities including our love for the Carolina Panthers, great beaches on the Carolina coast and we even share the Carowinds theme park! But there is one major difference between the two states: fireworks laws.

“Charlotte is so close to the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Many people commute between North and South Carolina for work and sometimes we forget that the two states have completely different sets of laws, especially when it comes to fireworks,” says Thomas D. Bumgardner, an attorney with the Law Office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC.

As the Fourth of July holiday nears, our law office breaks down the differences between fireworks laws in North Carolina and South Carolina so that you have a fun, safe and legal holiday.

North Carolina Fireworks Laws:

North Carolina has strict laws on the types of fireworks you’re allowed to have. A good rule of thumb is that if it explodes or launches in the air, then it’s not legal.

The difference in fireworks laws in North Carolina and South Carolina from the Law Office of Thomas Bumgardner

Fireworks that are illegal to possess in North Carolina:

  • Firecrackers
  • Ground spinners
  • Bottle rockets
  • Roman candles
  • Aerial fireworks

If you are caught selling or possessing one of these fireworks, you could face a hefty fine or even some jail time.

Fireworks that are legal inside North Carolina include:

  • Snake and glow worms
  • Sparklers
  • Devices that produce white or colored smoke
  • Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, string poppers and snappers

You must be 16 years or older to purchase any of these types of fireworks.

The best way to celebrate the Fourth of July in North Carolina is to view a spectacular fireworks show that is presented by trained and permitted professionals. Those are usually 10 times better anyway!

South Carolina Fireworks Laws

The difference between fireworks laws is immediately apparent as soon as you go across the border. Once you cross into South Carolina, there are huge stores touting their wide range of fireworks because the laws are much more lenient.

Mortars, spinners, bottle rockets and aerial fireworks are permitted in South Carolina, but there are a few that are not allowed.

Fireworks that are illegal to possess in South Carolina:

  • Ground salutes or cherry bombs
  • M-80s
  • TNT salutes
  • Bulldog salutes
  • Small rockets less than ½ inch in diameter and 3 inches long

Just like in North Carolina, a person must be 16 years or older to purchase fireworks in South Carolina.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers will be patrolling to make sure that everyone is having a safe Fourth of July holiday. One of the most common complaints officers will get during the holiday is noise from fireworks. If your neighbors are lighting fireworks late into the night and you need your beauty sleep, CMPD asks that you call 311, not 911. The call will receive a police response but keeps 911 free for serious emergencies.

Here at the Law Office of Thomas Bumgardner, we hope you have a spectacular Fourth of July with your family and friends. Please be safe and respect the fireworks laws in North and South Carolina!