Loophole allows sale, purchase of illegal fireworks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local law enforcement agencies are warning citizens about using illegal fireworks this Independence Day. The problem is, agencies can't really enforce the law.

Some fireworks like sparklers are completely legal, but others that explode, lift off or fly are not. Police have to actually catch you lighting it to enforce the law, but if you are caught with illegal fireworks, they can be seized.

Firework sales are up according to the General Manager of Phantom Fireworks in St. Augustine. Hundreds have already bought their fireworks for the holiday, and everyone has a favorite.

"I actually like the helicopter and the bees that kind of go in a circle and move up. My wife kind of likes the rockets," said Christopher Rule.

For kids it's pretty simple.

"They go bang and make lots of colors," said young Hunter Henley.

One of the most popular fireworks is the Lock and Load, a type of mortar, and it's just as intense as it sounds.

"They go up, they burst, they have a huge color they have a huge noise," said Byrd.

Fireworks like those are the ones firefighters say you should use with more caution.

"Over half of the injuries that we see are to the hands and fingers, and of course those that are from burns or the exploding or you have a firework, bottle rocket that blows up in your hands," said Randy Wyse, Jacksonville Firefighters Association.

Wyse says statistics show fireworks injure over 9,000 people every year.

"The numbers tick up on July 4th. Again, everybody outside having a good time, mix a little alcohol with it and things get a little out of control sometimes," said Wyse.

Police may get calls about fireworks going off in neighborhoods, but the law states you have to be caught in the act of using the firework. If police catch you in possession of illegal fireworks, they can be seized.

Click here to learn more about legal and illegal fireworks in Florida.

To see a list of locations with fireworks displays for the Fourth of July, click here.


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