Loophole allows sale of certain fireworks

Florida bans fireworks that explode, go airborne

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fireworks that explode are illegal in Florida, but they can still be purchased with the stroke of a pen.

Florida bans fireworks that explode or go airborne, but loopholes in the law let people buy them at shops or roadside stands, if they sign a waiver saying the pyrotechnics are for agricultural purposes.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to legalize firecrackers, bottle rockets and everything in between.

"This is a regulation that first of all has very little value to the state," said Gaetz. "It is not helping us economically and third, it's just silly to be over regulating fireworks."

Not only is the current law making liars out of normally law abiding people, Gaetz said it's sending commerce out of state.

"I've seen too often people just take to the Internet or drive across state line to buy what they want and I'm not looking to push that consumer activity out of Florida," said Gaetz.

It's still easy to get your hands on the explosives. All you have to do is sign a waiver saying you will not use the fireworks illegally.

Nationally, an estimated 5,000 people are sent to the emergency room each year for fireworks injuries. Vendors say they encourage safe behavior.

"I like selling them, like seeing people get excited about them," said Arthur Grubbs, who sells fireworks. "We tell them please be careful, please have a bucket of water handy so you can put things out as they burnout, try to encourage safety, too."

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said a fourth of all fireworks injuries are from firecrackers. Another 12 percent are from sparklers, which are legal under current law.

The State Fire Marshall said the state is working to protect public safety and is confident any proposed legislation will take those concerns into consideration.

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