All weekend long, the skies were erupting with loud bangs throughout the First Coast as some Floridians chose to show their patriotism ahead of the Fourth of July.
But can you legally send one of those big, sparkly fireballs into the air?
According to Florida law, the answer is both yes and no.
"If it leaves the ground or explodes, it's illegal," said Tom Francis, the public information officer for the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department. "So that leaves sparklers, tanks, the things you can find for sale at a typical fireworks stand here in Duval County that the typical consumer can avail themselves of."
Guillermo Gimenez, a worker at a fireworks stand, agreed with Francis. He said you cannot set off fireworks in your yard that fly into the air because it's illegal, but there's a loophole in the law.
The law allows the use of fireworks for agricultural or fish hatchery use. Some stands make buyers sign a form acknowledging it.
"The forms just basically state that you guys are purchasing fireworks for the sole purpose of scaring off the birds" rather than entertain your friends at a party, Gimenez said.
Thus, First Coast News can verify that only certain fireworks are legal in Florida: Anything that stays on the ground can be sold and used legally. Anything that flies into the air isn't legal, unless it is used for legitimate agricultural use.
"So by all means, head to the beach or head downtown," Francis said. "Wherever those public displays are taking place and those professionals are at work and you will be able to have a joyful Fourth of July."
It should also be noted that in Georgia, residents can buy and sell fireworks legally. Folks in Florida can also buy fireworks in the state, then set them off in Georgia legally.
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