The Fourth of July is a holiday when we fill our bodies with barbecue and our social media feeds are filled with what seems like the same old fireworks displays.

Many of these performances take place in people’s backyards, and are often illegal.

It is a major problem for police departments across the country, as they receive many complaints but often little action is taken.

In the United States, only one state — Massachusetts — bans the sale of fireworks in general. The other 49 states have varying degrees of legislation. It can be confusing for local police departments and residents, but for the stores that profit from the craze — it can be a nice payday.

Business at Artillery World Fireworks in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has been booming in recent weeks. Because it’s been so busy, Scripps News spoke to employee Haley Nye instead of her boss, Pete. He was asleep, as the two had been up until 4 a.m. conducting business the night before our interview.

“It’s insane. We’ve had lines from our front registers all the way into this building, basically,” Nye said.

It should come as no surprise that fireworks stores are booming this time of year. But what you may notice is that most of the customers who visit their stores are not from Wyoming residents.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, fireworks are allowed to some extent in 49 states in the US, but regulations vary from state to state.

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Wyoming, for example, has few restrictions on fireworks: they can be purchased year-round. However, neighboring Colorado has more restrictions, which prohibit fireworks that use air or explosives.

That’s why people flock to this fireworks paradise in the middle of nowhere.

That’s great for the shops, but it’s a headache for the police in places where the average citizen can’t enjoy these kinds of explosives.

Jay Casillas is a Denver police officer. In 2023, his department received 1,930 calls about fireworks in the three weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, but officers issued only four tickets.

“Fireworks are simply dangerous and unfortunately people have already been injured by them,” Casillas said.

Similar situations are playing out nationwide, as Casillas says police are busy with higher priority calls and people don’t want to ruffle feathers. A public complaint must be signed by the caller to receive a fine. In addition, evidence is typically scarce and results in one fine for every 500 calls.

“They can only cause more injuries and unfortunately people are not using them the way they are intended and that is where the problem lies,” he said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report in late June saying that “between 2008 and 2023, fireworks-related injuries have increased overall,” with a spike during the pandemic. The demographic group with the highest number of ER visits was teens ages 15 to 19, with children ages 5 to 9 close behind.