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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Jul. 7, 2017 2 years ago

What do Florida laws say about fireworks?

The Ormond Beach Police Department got 19 calls about illegal firework displays from residential homes July 4.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

While about 3,500 people watched the city’s firework display over the Halifax river on Independence Day, a handful of Ormond Beach residents lit up the skies above their own lawns, violating Florida law.

The Ormond Beach Police Department got 19 calls about illegal firework displays on July 4, said OPBD spokesman Keith Walker.

Florida Statutes Chapter 791 states that it it "unlawful for any person, firm, co-partnership, or corporation to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks." The law defines fireworks as “any article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation." That does not include sparklers.

Recently, the Ormond Beach Observer published an opinion column by Community Editor Jacque Estes about how fireworks affect pets and veterans. Linda Kay Doviak commented on the article’s Facebook post that she hates fireworks because of their effect on animals.

“I can understand firework displays, like Disney, or community organized displays, but it is the backyard bomber that I have a problem with,” Doviak wrote.

Not everyone agreed with Doviak.

“I have consideration for animals and vets, but let’s not get carried away and outlaw fireworks like everything else that was once a good part of our lives,” commented Carol Meader-Gilliam. Despite the 19 calls on July 4, no illegal fireworks were confiscated by OBPD, and therefore no reports were filed.

“In the past, even during the droughts, our city police did little to enforce the laws and treated the calls as an annoyance,” commented Donald Williamson on Facebook.

When an anonymous call regarding fireworks is made to OBPD on Independence Day, officers head to the location in question and have to try and catch people in the act, said Ormond Beach Police Chief Jesse Godfrey. He said usually, as soon as people catch sight of the officers, they either go inside their homes or stop shooting the fireworks.

"We obviously go for education first before enforcement," Godfrey said. "So if we do catch somebody, typically we say 'can you stop doing that? Somebody's called and it's bothering people.' But it is the fourth of July—it's a celebration."


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