Buying fireworks? Know what's legal and what's not

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by Catherine Holland

Video reports by Tess Rafols and Kristine Harrington

Posted on July 4, 2013 at 7:45 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:51 AM

PHOENIX -- Fourth of July and fireworks. They go together. But you need to know what's legal and what's not before your holiday celebration kicks into gear.

While it is legal to buy certain kinds of fireworks in Arizona, depending on where you are, it might not be legal to use them.

Fireworks sold in Arizona are supposed to be of the "safe and sane" variety. They don't fire projectiles, they do not explode, and they do not shoot into the air. Basically, they are novelties albeit potentially dangerous ones.

While you can buy these novelties, including sparklers, party poppers, ground spinners, snakes and snappers, you can't necessarily use them where you buy them.

Most municipalities govern the use of fireworks within their borders. The cities also dictate the charges and potential punishments offenders might face. Penalties for the illegal use of fireworks in Phoenix, for example, are a fine of up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail. The charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Because the regulations vary from city to city, it can be confusing.

 

So, how do you know what's legal and what's not? Check with your city. What's legal in Phoenix might not be in Scottsdale, Glendale or Mesa.

If you're going to have any kind of fireworks at your celebration, firefighters say you need to be extra vigilant in supervising kids and teens.

Last year, some 9,000 people went to emergency rooms with injuries from fireworks. About two-thirds of them were children younger than 15.

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