Florida lawmakers are looking to make fireworks legal on four dates: July 4th, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Memorial Day. A Senate committee unanimously approved the proposed bill, and the Florida House is set to hear its counterpart.
Though the unanimous vote would typically point towards a non-controversial initiative, many Floridians question the appropriateness of including Memorial Day as a firework-worthy holiday. While many Americans utilize the day off for BBQs and parties, Memorial Day was meant to be a somber day of remembrance for those who lost their lives serving our country.
Under current Florida law, sparklers and other small pyro-devices are the only fireworks technically legal for Floridians to buy. Firecrackers, roman candles, dago bombs, torpedoes, skyrockets, and any other large explosives are illegal.
Despite the law, tens of thousands of Floridians are still able to purchase and set off fireworks each year. This is a result of an outdated loophole that allows fireworks suppliers to use a workaround to sell their products. Customers sign a waiver when purchasing fireworks saying the explosives will be used for agricultural purposes, specifically "frightening birds from agricultural work and fish hatcheries."
Some members of the legislature have called this loophole ridiculous and unnecessary, thus the push for change. State lawmakers have tried to change the regulation of fireworks in the past, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Despite its popularity with lawmakers, many firefighters and emergency personnel have concerns about legalizing fireworks, even on specific days. In the last four years, nearly 300 fires have been caused directly by fireworks, as well as $800,000 in damages.