Florida Senate signs off on fireworks revamp

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Floridians soon could legally set off fireworks on three days, without a pretense for buying the explosives.

The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a measure (SB 140) that would allow people 18 and older to buy fireworks to use on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day.

Bill sponsor Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, said Monday that people are confused by the current law. Lifting the ban on those three holidays is the “right thing to do,” he said.

Relatively innocuous devices such as sparklers are legal to buy in Florida, but explosives such as firecrackers, torpedoes and roman candles are off limits. However, people can buy the explosives if they sign a waiver saying they will use the fireworks for certain agricultural purposes, specifically for “frightening birds from agricultural work” and fish hatcheries.

The proposal would eliminate the need for people to declare why they are buying fireworks if they use them during the three holidays listed in the bill.

A similar House bill (HB 65) is awaiting final passage. Under the House measure (HB 65), retailers who unlawfully sell fireworks to a person under the age of 18 would have a “complete defense” if the buyer in “good faith” believed the person was 18 or older.