Today’s entry: Brian, something I'd like you to look into for your Q&A. What’s the law on fireworks? Seems like more people are just firing them off whenever they want – including all times of the day and night.
Bottom Line: This isn’t the first time I’ve covered this topic in a Q&A. In January of 2020, fresh off of New Year’s, I received a similar note from a frustrated listener. What is different is Florida’s law pertaining to fireworks use since then – which likely is contributing to what you’ve perceived to be increased use of fireworks. Seemingly indiscriminate use of fireworks would be an annoyance anytime you’re trying to sleep but especially if you have an early start to a workday as many of us do. Florida’s law on fireworks works like this...
First, “non-aerial” and “non-explosive" fireworks are legal for anyone to buy at any time. This provides a basis of legitimacy for the industry statewide. Still, it’s not handheld sparklers that are annoying you late at night. It’s real deal fireworks which are generally illegal for people to use. Under Florida’s current law here’s what’s defined as a “firework”:
- (a) “Fireworks” means and includes any combustible or explosive composition or substance or combination of substances prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation.
- (b) “Fireworks” does not include sparklers; toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns, or other devices in which paper caps containing twenty-five hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, providing they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion; and toy pistol paper caps which contain less than twenty hundredths grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times.
There are three exceptions to Florida’s ban on aerial and explosive fireworks. Permitted events, military application and agricultural exemptions. The change with 2020’s law, which likely is behind the increased use in neighborhoods, as you’ve perceived, is that there are three days per year where there’s a right to unrestricted use... New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and July 4th. Now here’s the thing. It's evident some people are using them outside of just those days - including fireworks commonly being fired off past midnight on July 4th.
It’s not hard to spot or hear illegally used fireworks. The question, like many laws on the books, is whether they’re enforced. In the case of fireworks...commonly not. But it’s not just about fireworks. Local noise ordinances may often come into play as well. Aside from municipal restrictions, which may be more restrictive than county standards, all of South Florida restricts noise at night and early mornings outside of holiday exceptions. Those times are...
- Broward: 10pm to 7am
- Miami-Dade: 11pm to 7am
- Palm Beach: 8pm to 7am
If you’re surrounded by inconsiderate neighbors who continue to fire off fireworks at all hours of night, you’re well within your right to report it to the police. When fireworks are involved, there are likely multiple violations of the law taking place. But yes, what you’re experiencing is likely a byproduct of more people having more legal access to fireworks based on 2020’s law – who are in turn using them when they shouldn’t be. No doubt, a little courtesy and consideration would go a long way.
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