Florida Fireworks Laws

Do You Know Florida Fireworks Laws?

Florida Fireworks Laws

Are you sure you know Florida's Fireworks Laws? Around this time of year, those fireworks stands start popping up and sell cases of fireworks, so it must be legal.  Right? Your neighbors are shooting off explosives. Almost everyone is doing it, so it must be legal. Right?

Why go spend hours in a crowded park waiting for a show when you can get a Buy One-Get One package from a fireworks dealer? That's literally twice the bang for the buck! They wouldn't sell those fireworks if it was illegal.  Right?

The fireworks stores have you sign a waiver to make everything legal, so no worries.  Right?

Well, yes and no.

Here's What Florida Fireworks Laws Permit

When you walk into the fireworks store (or stand), you see crates and boxes with cool names like Barely Legal, Lock and Load, and Tropic Thunder. There are specialty kits for a Aerial Avalanche and a Finale Spectacle. Unfortunately for you, Florida Fireworks Laws only permit you to buy items classified as Sparklers. Remember those little sticks you light and sparks fly off, occasionally burning your wrist?  As a kid, you'd run around and wave them in circles. That's still all you're really allowed to have. You can buy fountains, snakes and glow worms – they're classified as sparklers. To be fair, you can buy anything they sell. The problems come around when you try to use the fireworks.

Lighting anything larger than a sparkler for the purpose of putting on a show without a permit is a misdemeanor in Florida.  You may face up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

The fireworks store may ask you to sign a waiver if you buy anything above a sparkler.  That waiver isn't for your benefit and doesn't give you a permit to use the fireworks. If you take the time to read it, you'll see it exists only to protect the fireworks vendor by declaring that you only intend to use the fireworks for a legal reason.  If you go ahead and use them for an illegal reason, you're on your own.

What is a Legal Reason to Use Fireworks in Florida?

There's a bit of a loophole in the law. If you own a farm or fish hatchery, you're permitted to use fireworks to scare off animals. Apparently, a great many animals need to be frightened away on New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July. Using that excuse in Baldwin Park may not be very convincing if the cops stop to question you about your explosives, though.

Other than the potential for fines and jail, consider your neighbors. Some of them actually like living in peace & quiet.  I know I do.  Unfortunately, I also know my redneck neighbor will be illegally discharging fireworks from his back yard well past midnight.  He doesn't care if anyone is trying to get some sleep or if the explosions frighten the neighborhood dogs. After all, he's a redneck. Thinking isn't required.

A much better way to celebrate with some great fireworks is to go see a show.  Altamonte Springs puts on a concert and outstanding fireworks show with Red Hot & Boom at Cranes Roost Park. It's on July 3rd this year.  Most people have Independence Day off from work, so they can stay up to watch the show and then sleep a bit longer on the holiday.

The event starts at 4:00pm, but you ought to get there early if you want to get a prime spot. They don't allow coolers, personal fireworks or pets.  It happens rain or shine and the fireworks show itself is expected to be 25 minutes long.  When you think how much you'd have to pay, and the potential fine if you get caught, it seems like a no-brainer to go see a professional fireworks show.

Not to mention that your neighbors who stay home will appreciate the peace & quiet.

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14 comments

  • Hayden July 4, 2016   Reply →

    Quite interesting how you refer to “rednecks” in such a derogatory manner. Something tells me that you don’t have the courage to stereotype any other group of people that way.

    But here’s to you, William. Happy Fourth of July and you’re welcome from my family and ancestors that fought to provide you the freedom you have today. Enjoy it before you completely extinguish it.

    Hayden

    • William Beem July 5, 2016   Reply →

      Hayden,

      Sorry you were offended by my use of the word “redneck.” I’m quite familiar with the term as I grew up with them (my mother is a West Virginia hillbilly, though) and live next door to one who refers to himself as such.

      As for ancestors, you better go way back. My oldest ancestor on the continent landed here in the 1500’s. Michael Beem was an aide to George Washington. I have ancestors who served in every war up to WWII. Not my credit, mind you. That was their service.

      You see, I have my own ancestors who fought for my rights to enjoy freedom of speech, and I need not be cowardly about it.

      Y’all have a nice day now, hear?

      • Cher71 December 18, 2016   Reply →

        My neighbor is a redneck too and he just shot some in the front yard tonight 12/18/16 around 7pm. Scared me and my pets! Thought my outside christmas lights were popping or it was a gun! I also just put a new roof on and that stuff from the fireworks, when it comes down, is still hot and leaves marks on roof tops as well as cars! It happened to my car a few years ago! And no, they don’t have common sense unfortunately! !

  • Patti July 5, 2016   Reply →

    Hi Hayden, I agree with you up to a point. “Rednecks” was not a suitable label. I would call some of these celebrating folks rude, annoying, un-neighborly, and (in some cases) dangerous. Many of them have no idea that they are breaking the law by lying on a fireworks purchase waiver that they sign. They do not consider the consequences of frightening livestock. Shooting burning embers into the sky in a small yard surrounded by trees is downright stupid. It’s even more stupid when the fire danger is high. Here’s the problem as I see it: by being morons and causing unrest, more of our freedoms could be compromised. If enough fed up neighbors put the pressure on, soon ALL fireworks will be illegal. Was that not your point?

  • William Beem July 5, 2016   Reply →

    Patti, my neighbor is known to refer to himself as a redneck. It’s a label he wears proudly, although he doesn’t care much what anyone else thinks when he blows up fireworks or parks his truck across the sidewalk.

  • Robin K Westbrook July 2, 2017   Reply →

    Last night our neighbors (some of whom I would classify as rednecks and I AM one from a mill village in SC) decided that July 1 was a good night for fireworks. I had to medicate my little dog. We are seniors and we had trouble getting to sleep. I was born between VE and VJ day in 1945 so I have learned, from my relatives who survived that carnage, what fighting for freedom is and it’s not the freedom to scream “Fire!” in a crowded theater or make a public danger and nuisance out of oneself with fireworks (because the big bang enhances your manhood, maybe?)! Use some common sense!

    • William Beem July 2, 2017   Reply →

      The same thing happened around here last night. My family was shopping in Target and we could hear the explosions. It sounded like Walmart was attacking the place. Got home and found more fireworks going off in the neighborhood and one of our dogs was terrified. While I appreciate a good fireworks show, I’m not a fan of the folks who shoot off their own noisemakers in the neighborhood.

  • Crystal S July 2, 2017   Reply →

    Can people just wait until July 4th to set them off?!? I shouldn’t have to medicate my dogs every night leading up to then and then for at least a week after!! My poor dogs are scared to death!!

    • Crystal S July 2, 2017   Reply →

      Oh… and rednecks! Lol… people can be too touchy about labels like that. A true redneck wouldn’t be offended… they would embrace the nickname!!

    • William Beem July 2, 2017   Reply →

      We had a torrential thunderstorm tonight. Yet in the middle of that downpour and thunder, I still heard more fireworks mortars going off at the same time.

      I can sympathize with your situation, as I’ve also had dogs frightened by these explosions. However, they aren’t just scaring dogs. Anyone who ever had to deal with a frightened baby when someone starts shooting off fireworks at 3:30 am can tell you that it’s more than an inconvenience.

  • Debra L Picozzi July 3, 2017   Reply →

    Just called Seminole County Sheriff’s out here three times. They told me 1st, it’s the “spirit of the law” on a holiday therefore no enforcement. Called back again because neighbors were told to stop. As soon as officer left, the illegal fireworks continued. On the third call, after the “grand finale” the Sgt. Said he can’t do anything unless he sees it. It didn’t matter that there was a uhaul truck full of rocket fired ,spent gunpowder, or that children wear running around their enebriated parents during the “show”. Clouds of smoke and burnt out tree lawn and pictures I took of the action.
    The police wonder why nobody wants to get involved. The police will be on the news tomorrow with pitiful stories of accidental tragedies from grown adolescents blowing the hands off their kids.
    Next year, ear plugs and Ambien. I don’t give a shot anymore.

  • Nonya July 4, 2017   Reply →

    If it’s against the law….then these criminals should be arrested and thrown in jail. Shut down the private and retail sellers and get tough with offenders. Everyone seems to be forgetting another large group of people….people who suffer from PTSD! If people were really supportive of the first responders, the military and veterans they wouldn’t shoot explosives into the air for days and hours! Some people are very ignorant….

    • Debra L Picozzi July 4, 2017   Reply →

      Agree, and police/sheriff are useless.

  • RSLewis July 9, 2017   Reply →

    Dear Hayden- STFU! I dont like the rednecks around my house shooting that crap off either. I can guarantee I have the balls to call YOU that and anyone else. WHo gives a $hit about your ancestors.

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