When July Fourth is brought up, what comes to mind? Barbeques? Independence? Fireworks? All of those things represent the holiday to most Americans, but in Florida one of them is illegal.
Florida law prohibits the shooting of anything that leaves the ground, explodes, or flies – a perfect example of what the best fireworks do. There are, of course, some people who are legally permitted to set aflame the rockets. For the most part, they are pyrotechnicians that have a permit, miners and farmers, who are allowed to use fireworks to frighten animals away from their crops.
The strange thing about the law is that it is completely legal for anyone over the age of 18 to buy fireworks. The consumers just have to sign a piece of paper saying that they are going to use the fireworks for one of the reasons allowed, and no one really gives the paper a second glance.
“They’re not asked for ID, they can sign that form any way they want and the businesses are not liable as long as the person signing the form perjures himself and says he is going to use it for legal purposes,” Tampa Fire Department Captain Bill Wade told Channel 10 News.
Police departments don’t care much about the legal irregularities, either.
“We don’t regulate
fireworks at all. We haven’t issued any citations of that sort in at least two years,” St. Petersburg Police Department Spokesman George Kajtsa told the St. Petersburg Times.
When no one follows the law, it makes the government and law look bad. The solution? This law should not exist. Yes, fireworks cause injuries and firework sellers should check I.D., but to have a law with so many loopholes that are exploited on a daily basis is pointless and makes the process of buying and selling fireworks more tedious than it needs to be.
Fireworks have been a part of the Fourth of July since its first anniversary in 1777. Two hundred and twenty-nine years later, our bureaucracy has evolved to the point where it’s illegal to celebrate the government’s birthday the way its founders did. Though the state Senate has adjourned until next year, perhaps Florida’s senators should celebrate their government’s independence with a little independent thought and strike this unnecessary law from the books.
If you so choose to perjure yourself while buying fireworks for illegal use this July Fourth, be safe. And remember: You may be committing a crime, but you’re doing it in the spirit of the red glare of rockets and the bursting of bombs.