Buyer aware: know Walworth County, local ordinances on fireworks
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Freedom Fireworks stand at Abell’s Corners will open this week. Terry Mayer photo.
ELKHORN — The nation’s second president, John Adams, wrote that the Fourth of July
“... ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other...”
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
For more than 200 years, most citizens of the United States have done this “illuminating” by lighting sparklers and shooting off fireworks — and not always legally.
“We call fireworks that are allowed in Wisconsin ‘safe and sane,’” said Nicole Cornellier-Banker, manager of the Cornellier Superstore in Beloit. “They’re the smaller items like fountains, sparklers, smoke balls and the little novelty items.”
A portion of the Wisconsin state law reads, “state law allows the sale, possession and use, without a permit, of sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than 1/4 grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground.”
Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state statutes and may prohibit any of these items or limit their sale or use.
Knowledge of these stricter town, city or county ordinances is the responsibility of the buyer, according to Cornellier-Banker.
Possessing or using other fireworks, those that explode or leave the ground, for example — firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars — without a valid permit is illegal under Wisconsin state law.
“Fireworks are not illegal, it’s do you have a right to use them,” said Tom Hein, owner of Freedom Fireworks, with retail outlets in Elkhorn, East Troy and Ixonia. “As long as you have a right (a permit) to use it, you can buy all class C fireworks.”
Those permits come with some specific restrictions.
For the complete story, see the June 24 print or e-edition of Walworth County Sunday.