For years, Florida’s fireworks laws have been…. interesting. Through a combination of unclear statutes and precedent set by lawsuits, Florida has basically decided that fireworks are illegal, but still allowed to be sold, but only if customers sign a waiver agreeing that said fireworks cannot actually be used except under limited exceptions. And how all this gets enforced? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.
But on April 8, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that adds a little clarity to the situation: SB140. While we are not lawyers and can’t provide legal advice, here’s our take on what this all means.
Introducing “Designated Holidays”
SB140 really does one main thing — it defines “designated holidays” when people can shoot fireworks completely legally. There are now three dates when you can shoot all the fireworks you want:
- July 4
- December 31
- January 1
So basically, your Independence Day and New Year’s fireworks celebrations.
“Fireworks” vs. “Sparklers”
As a reminder, Florida’s fireworks laws define “fireworks” as everything that goes into the air or explodes. This includes your artillery shells, firecrackers, rockets, things like that. This is different from “sparklers,” which for the purpose of Florida law (and no where else on Earth) means things like fountains, novelties, and of course, sparklers.
“Sparklers” have always been allowed in Florida and this new bill doesn’t have any impact on that. It only addresses “fireworks” that go into the air or explode, allowing those to now be used on the newly defined “designated holidays.”
Local Restrictions May Apply
This new bill specifically notes that it’s not intended to supersede any local fireworks laws, so you still need to be aware of any restrictions in your area. It also notes that while a homeowner’s association can have fireworks restrictions in its legally executed covenants, an HOA board can’t otherwise just pass rules to restrict your right to use fireworks. If it’s not in the covenants, then fire away!
How Does This Affect You?
The bottom line is that the state legislature wrote this bill to address the reality of the situation. People are buying and using all types of fireworks on these holidays anyway, not just the ground-based novelties and fountains, so it makes sense to go ahead and specifically allow it. For most, this doesn’t change anything except allowing you to enjoy your fireworks celebration with a little more peace of mind.
So get out and make the most of this new-found freedom this 4th of July! If you’re in the northeast Florida area, we’d love for you to visit our retail store in Orange Park. For everyone else, check out our wholesale fireworks website where we ship fireworks by the case all over the country.