Licensing & Regulation FAQ 3

What authority do municipalities have to regulate fireworks?

Section 167.10 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs fireworks, defining what constitutes "fireworks" and providing under what limited conditions persons may sell fireworks or possess fireworks with intent to sell. With certain specific exceptions, the sale of fireworks or possession of fireworks with intent to sell requires a municipal permit and possession or use of fireworks requires a user's permit from the mayor or village president of the municipality in which the possession or use is to occur or from an official or employee of that municipality designated by the mayor or president. Issuance of permits is only authorized under certain circumstances set forth by statute.

Section 167.10(5) specifically authorizes municipalities to enact local ordinances. Such ordinances can define "fireworks" to include specific items set forth by statute and not considered to be "fireworks" under state law and to prohibit or regulate the sale, possession or use, as defined by ordinance, of fireworks.

Although a local ordinance may be more restrictive in its coverage, prohibition or regulation than sec. 167.10 generally, it may not be less restrictive. County ordinances regulating fireworks do not apply and may not be enforced within any city, village or town that has enacted its own local ordinance.

In spite of the authority to enact local ordinances, municipalities are prohibited from enacting an ordinance that prohibits the possession of fireworks in that city or village while transporting the fireworks to a city, town, village or county where the possession of the fireworks is authorized by permit or ordinance.  For more information on local regulation of fireworks, see Licensing & Regulation 381R1.