Police to be Proactive on Illegal Fireworks

On Thursday, June 21, Gulfport Police Chief Rob Vincent took to social media to remind people that law enforcement officers will be assertive in handling 4th of July personal fireworks complaints.

“This holiday season, Gulfport officers will be taking a strong, proactive stance in enforcing the use of illegal fireworks,” said Vincent on Facebook. “Violators may face confiscation of all unlawful fireworks and may be subject to arrest for a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.”

People wishing to report a fireworks issue should call the Gulfport Police Department’s non-emergency telephone number at 727-582-6177, said Vincent.

“This is something I reiterate every year,” Vincent told the Gabber. “Last year, we had very few complaints about fireworks. We will send an officer every time somebody calls in a report.”

Examples of illegal fireworks are those that leave the ground, such as bottle rockets, or that explode, he said.

Fireworks dealers often sell items to the public that, by law, require purchasers to sign a form “swearing that you are buying the fireworks to keep birds away from your licensed agricultural or fishery operation,” said Vincent. “Lying on said form is also against the law.”

Specifically, Florida State Statutes Chapter 791 covers the sale of fireworks. See tinyurl.com/y79p8nfs.

In general, legal personal fireworks include those primarily sold at food supermarkets such as “sparklers, those little snakes, spinners and poppers,” said Vincent.

For additional details about personal fireworks, the chief suggests referencing an eight-page illustrated reference guide about fireworks and sparkler law enforcement in the State of Florida from the Division of the State Fire Marshal located at tinyurl.com/ycxo3s88.

July 4 will be on a Wednesday this year and by tradition in Gulfport, a family friendly full day of events is planned culminating with an after-dark professional fireworks display that begins at 9 p.m.

The best viewing for the show will be located along the Shore Boulevard beach area as the fireworks will be launched from William’s Pier. For further event day details and information about free remote parking, see mygulfport.us/july_4th_celebration.

To accommodate any law enforcement issues during the city’s annual celebration and as part of their standard operating procedure, the department will have extra officers on duty for July 4, he said.

As recommended by Vincent on Facebook, “enjoy a fun and safe fireworks show” in Gulfport that is “one of the best professional displays in Tampa Bay.”


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