July 1, 2019

Fireworks Ordinances

This is the time of year that our cities become familiar with not only that which goes bump in the night, but also boom, whiz and bang. Cities should be familiar with the state laws in effect as to fireworks which have been greatly expanded in recent years and should take a look at their own local ordinances to see that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions governing the use of fireworks are clearly spelled out.

“'Fireworks” means any composition or device for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, deflagration, or detonation, and which meets the definition of “consumer fireworks” as defined in KRS 227.702 or “display” fireworks as defined in KRS 227.706 and as set forth in the United States Department of Transportation's (DOT) hazardous materials regulations.” KRS 227.700(1).

“'Consumer fireworks’ means fireworks that are suitable for use by the public, designed primarily to produce visible effects by combustion, and that comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.” KRS 227.702. These items are legal for retail sale provided that all federal and state requirements are met and come in a wide range of varieties. KRS 227.708(1).

Consumer fireworks include ground and hand-held sparkling devices. These devices include dipped stick sparklers and wire sparklers, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, and toy smoke devices.  The specific characteristics of each of these devices may be found at KRS 227.702(1)(a) to (h).

Consumer fireworks sold as aerial devices include sky rockets and bottle rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter aerial spinners, roman candles, mines and shells, and an aerial shell kit with a reloadable tube.  The specific characteristics of these devices may be found at KRS 227.702(2)(a) to (f).

Consumer fireworks sold as audible ground devices include firecrackers and chasers.  The specific characteristics of these devices can be found at KRS 227.702(3)(a) to (b).

A host of other July 4th novelties and trick noisemakers are not classified as consumer fireworks by the United States Department of Transportation and their sales and use shall be allowed throughout the state at all times. KRS 227.704. These novelties include snakes and glow worms, smoke devices, wire sparklers, party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches, cigarette loads, and auto burglar alarms.  These items are defined in KRS 227.704. These items are legal for retail sale provided all applicable federal and state requirements are met. KRS 227.708(3).

Any person, firm, co-partnership, nonprofit, or business intending to sell consumer fireworks described in KRS 227.702(1) shall register annually with the state fire marshal, who may assess a fee of no more than twenty-five dollars ($25) for each site at which fireworks shall be sold. The registration requirement under this section shall not apply to permanent business establishments which are open year-round and in which the sale of fireworks is ancillary to the primary course of business. KRS 227.715(1).

Permanent business establishments open year-round and in which the sale of consumer fireworks is ancillary to the primary course of business shall only be permitted to sell those consumer fireworks described in KRS 227.702(1), or shall meet the criteria for “seasonal retailer” KRS 227.715(2).

“Seasonal retailers” shall be defined as any person, firm, co-partnership, nonprofit, or corporation intending to sell “consumer fireworks” between June 10 and July 7, or December 26 and January 4 of each year or both, and shall include permanent businesses, temporary businesses, stores, stands, or tents. A seasonal retailer shall register with the state fire marshal, who may assess a fee of no more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each site at which fireworks shall be sold. KRS 227.715(3). Any person, firm, co-partnership, nonprofit, or corporation intending to sell consumer fireworks, as defined in KRS 227.702(2) and (3) as the primary source of business, that is not a seasonal retailer as defined in subsection (3) of this section, shall register with the state fire marshal, who may assess a fee of no more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each site at which fireworks will be sold. KRS 227.715(4).

The annual registration required by this section shall be received by the state fire marshal at least fifteen (15) days prior to offering fireworks for sale at the site for which the registration is intended. Evidence that a sales and use tax permit has been obtained from the Department of Revenue shall be presented to the state fire marshal as a condition of registration. If the registration is received less than fifteen (15) days prior to offering fireworks for sale at the site for which registration is intended, an additional assessment of one hundred dollars ($100) shall be added to the initial fee. KRS 227.715(5).

Each site at which fireworks are offered for sale shall have its registration certificate displayed in a conspicuous location at the site. KRS 227.715(6). Each site at which fireworks are offered for sale shall comply with all applicable provisions of the International Building Code, with Kentucky Amendments (adopted edition), and NFPA 1124 (National Fire Protection Association)--Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (adopted edition). KRS 227.715(7).

No person or business shall give, offer for sale, or sell any consumer fireworks listed in KRS 227.702 to any person under eighteen (18) years of age. KRS 227.715(8).  No person under eighteen (18) years of age may be employed by a fireworks distribution facility or manufacturing facility. No person under eighteen (18) years of age shall sell consumer fireworks at a consumer fireworks retail sales facility registered under this section unless the individual is supervised by a parent or guardian. KRS 227.715(9).

A person lawfully possessing consumer fireworks, as defined in KRS 227.702(2) and (3) may use those items if: (a) He or she is at least eighteen (18) years of age; (b) Fireworks are not ignited within two hundred (200) feet of any structure, vehicle, or any other person; and

(c) Use of the fireworks does not place him or her in violation of any lawfully enacted local ordinance. KRS 227.715(11).

Please contact KLC for examples of local ordinances governing the use of fireworks.