Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Some of) The Law Behind Fireworks Sales

Fireworks stands are popping up around the Reservoir again.  These little noise-making explosions of joy are either loved or hated in the residential areas around the Rez.  Many concerned citizens may be curious as to the law behind fireworks sales in the State of Mississippi.  Here's your tutorial:

Below is a regurgitation of various laws, ordinances, and statutes.  

Mississippi State Laws

Mississippi Code sections 45-13-1 et seq. govern fireworks sale, possession and manufacture.  Fireworks can only be sold at retail beginning December 5 through January 2 of each year.  See Miss. Code Ann. s 45-13-9 (they can also be sold beginning June 15 through July 5).

Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 12.  Id.

It is against the law to set off fireworks within 600 feet of a church, hospital or school.  Id.

It is against the law to set off fireworks within 75 feet of where fireworks are stored or sold.  Id.

It is against the law to ignite fireworks in any motor vehicle.  Id.

Interestingly, state law makes it a felony to violate any of the above provisions, and authorizes a fine of not more than $1,000.00.  State law also levies strict liability for damages and injuries upon any violator of these laws.

Municipalities and county boards of supervisors are expressly granted the authority to enact more restrictive (or presumably less restrictive) laws concerning fireworks.  See id. s 45-13-13 and s 21-19-15.

City of Flowood Laws

The City of Flowood deals with fireworks sales and storage summarily; they are prohibited pursuant to Section 207.01 of the City's zoning ordinance.

I couldn't find any specific ordinances regulating the setting off of fireworks in Flowood.  However, I can tell you that pursuant to the City's Noise Ordinance, sneezing after 9 p.m., much less setting off fireworks, is illegal.

Violations of the Noise Ordinance are treated as misdemeanors.

Rankin County Laws

The sale of fireworks is generally allowed in A-1 (Agricultural General), A-2 (Agricultural Intensive), and C-3 (Major Thoroughfares Commercial) Districts.  However, the sale is limited by Ordinance #2004-100 from the Rankin County Board of Supervisors, which deals with the storage, sale, and location of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the County.  I don't know if this law has been superseded since April 15, 2004 (my contact is on vacation all week).  If not, it is still good law.  In addition to the sale and storage, this Ordinance heavily regulates the placement of warning signs, fire extinguishers, and illumination around fireworks sales.  See Section 2 (B), (C), & (G).

This ordinance prohibits the sale of fireworks within 1.5 miles of any municipality that prohibits the sale of fireworks.  Section 2(J).

This ordinance further prohibits the sale of fireworks within 1,000 feet of a church, school, day care facility, hospital et al.  Sectiuon 2 (K).

This ordinance prohibits the sale of fireworks to anyone who appears intoxicated.  Section 7(b).

Violations of this ordinance are treated as misdemeanors.

Pearl River Valley Water Supply District Laws

You are not getting very far on PRV property.  Firework sales are banned.  See Rule 9.2 of Part 204.  Further, it is unlawful to set off fireworks in public areas within the PRVWSD (parks, piers, parking lots, streets, etc.), at any time.  See Rule 9.3.  I could not find any law regarding the ignition of fireworks on residential leasehold property and I therefore presume it is not unlawful.


KaptKangaroo said...

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

We've been stopped by the Reservoir Patrol for shooting fireworks. We were on leasehold property. The officer was nice about it, but we were told it was illegal.

Troy Odom said...

The PRVWSD ordinances go out of their way to limit the ban on discharging fireworks to public places. However, the Noise Ordinance, found in Rule 8, is quite broad, and makes it unlawful to create any noise, even on leasehold property, that is a "disturbance" or "nuisance" to others. In my opinion, the Noise Ordinance is all the PRVWSD needs if it wasnts to curtail fireworks.