This is the season when people are prepared to let loose and have some fun. Particularly on the Fourth of July, that will involve grilling, picnics, pools, alcohol, and, of course, fireworks.
However, we would like to remind you, once again, that fireworks are not legal for personal purchase or use in the state of Florida. This warning comes in many forms, from many outlets each and every year, particularly as the month of July approaches, yet each year this holiday sees catastrophic injuries as a result of misused fireworks.
Certainly you have wondered why, in a state that outlaws everything except sparklers, there remains so many stores and stands selling the goods. This all comes down to a loophole that the owners of those businesses have exploited in order to sell to those who want to try their hand at more than the sparkling wands.
Florida law states that fireworks are illegal to own and use, except for the purpose of scaring off vermin that may cost a farm or hatchery loss of livestock and money. Essentially, the idea is that the state wants to allow farmers and other breeders the use of fireworks for the purpose of scaring off the natural predators of their animals. In this way, the predators are uninjured, but are not allowed to harm the valuable livestock.
Of course, the fireworks operations were quick to recognize this as a fantastic loophole. They now sell to a myriad of unexperienced individuals under the façade of “terrifying predators.”
In most instances, those buying the goods will be required to sign a document at the time of sale. This document stipulates that the person intending to use the purchased fireworks will be only for the purpose of maintaining a farm or hatchery. Whether or not the buyer actually follows through on this promise is not the concern of the business, which is profiting off the risks taken by others.
St. Petersburg police, however, have announced their intentions of cracking down on the use of illegal fireworks. They are a danger to the users and to those in the nearby vicinity. Police have reported to many devastating scenes, where people have been trapped in houses with exploding fireworks, or where novice users have their faces and limbs ripped apart when the fireworks are not lit properly.
This is a major danger and many people do not realize that fireworks can cost much more than the price tag suggests. In Saint Petersburg, it is illegal to light them off. If another person suffers injuries as a result of a misfire, the person who purchased and lit them can be taken to jail. Furthermore, a personal injury attorney may be hired by the victim to seek damages from the guilty party.
That means that your attempt at having Fourth of July fun can result in your appearance before at least two judges, and even a jury of your peers. You may be convicted and fined by the criminal court, and then ordered to pay substantial funds to the victim for medical expenses and lost wages.