The 4th of July will be here next week and what is one of the first things you think of when the holiday is brought up? That's right, fireworks.

Fireworks are a big part of Independence Day, but as you are probably aware of, outside of going to city and town events that have fireworks featured, they are illegal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I know, I know, people light up fireworks before and after the 4th -- it just happens. While there seems to be some leniency, if you get caught with fireworks, lighting them or not, you could be seeing your wallets a little bit lighter. Now, if you plan on selling fireworks to your friends and neighbors, you could, in addition, spend some time behind bars.

Here is what you need to know if you want to light up the skies from your backyard during the 4th of July week, or anytime, according to Commonwealth Law, and the State Fire Marshall, MGL Chapter 148, S. 39.

The Law Itself

It is illegal for private citizens to use, possess, or sell fireworks in Massachusetts, or to purchase them legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state. The law prohibits any article designed to produce a visible or audible effect.

In so many words, fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts.

The Selling of Fireworks

If you decide to get into the black market fireworks sales business, be prepared to pay the price. The penalty for sales, according to Massachusetts, would be a fine or imprisonment or both, and confiscation. The fines could be from $100 to $1,000 and a maximum of one-year in prison.

If an officer comes to your house for fireworks, they would be authorized, according to the statute, to confiscate any and all fireworks.

Possession, Use, Cause to Explode of Fireworks

When we said your wallets could be a little bit lighter, they would be if you are caught lighting up fireworks. But, let's be honest, it is not the end of the world if you are willing to make the investment.

The penalty would be a fine and confiscation only. The fine would be from anywhere between $10 and $100. On top of that, you would not be arrested for having fireworks. They would be taken away.

Seizure

Can people get their fireworks back? No. If convicted, the reworks are forfeited to the state.

What does an officer do with confiscated fireworks? During business hours, contact the State Police Bomb Squad at (978) 567-3310. Notify them immediately for large quantities, commercial grade, or deteriorated materials. After hours, call (508) 820-2121 and ask for the Troop Duty Officer in your area. An on-call Bomb Squad Officer will arrange for pick-up.

That's the long and the short of it my friends! If you want to have a fireworks display in your backyard this 4th of July, you won't be arrested, you may lose them, and you would be subject to a small fine. Selling them, well that seems silly to do in my opinion.