Saturday, June 30, 2012

Legal and Illegal Fireworks

Speaking of fireworks, I will admit that July 4th fireworks can be fun (for some of us).  That leads to the question of when fireworks are legal in New York State.  Before October 2009, New York was one of four states that banned the sale and use of all consumer fireworks by individuals (New York Penal Law Section 270.00). New York allowed an exception only for those "municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks or organizations of individuals" granted a permit by a local authority to present a "public display of fireworks", as outlined in Section 405.00 of the Penal Law.

Then a 2009 amendment to Section 405.00 changed the law with respect to private event fireworks displays. The statute currently provides that "persons" can also apply for permits for what are now referred to simply as "fireworks displays," provided they meet strict qualifications such as naming an individual with a "valid certificate of competence as a pyrotechnician" to be "acutally in charge" of the firing. A 2010 New York State Attorney General opinion further explained that the amended state law preempted any still-on-the-books local ordinances to the contrary; individuals in the state could in fact apply to their towns for private fireworks display permits.

So you may want to consider applying to your local permit authority for an impressive July 4th fireworks display at your private (outdoor) party this year. Well, maybe next year.  The statute also states that all fireworks display permit applications must be made "at least five days in advance" of the display date.    

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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