Most people get excited when it’s time for a fireworks show. Whether it was July 4th celebrations, New Years, or any other occasion where fireworks displays are prevalent. However, with the increase in firework-related injuries, some states are outright banning them for public use. Today, we’ll dive deep into why fireworks are strictly forbidden in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Fireworks Are Illegal in The Commonwealth of Virginia
Fireworks in Virginia Beach are a favorite pastime for locals and tourists alike. The city is the perfect place to see fireworks displays in the evening. The fireworks are often accompanied by a concert, and are a great way to celebrate the 4th of July and other special occasions.
However, It's not widely known that in the state of Virginia, fireworks are strictly prohibited for public use. According to the Virginia department of Forestry, it’s illegal to possess, use, store, sell, buy, or handle any firework that explodes, engulfs into flame, or rises into the air unless you have the proper licensing.
Additionally, Virginia Beach’s City Code Se. 12-43.2 strictly prohibits the use of any fireworks and pyrotechnics within the city’s limits.
Exceptions to The Law
There are, however, exceptions to the law. The previously mentioned Virginia Beach city code is not applicable to:
Any organization or entity which has been granted a permit or license by the fire marshal for the public or private display of fireworks. This is provided that the fireworks were handled, stored, and used in compliance with the laws and conditions of the license.
Any federal, state, or local government workers with the animal management agency. Provided that they are only acting within the scope of their lawful duties.
Reasoning Behind the Law
According to the annual report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), firework injuries and fatalities were up by 50% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
One of the main causes of these accidents is misuse by people who aren’t qualified or trained to handle dangerous fireworks. Out of 18 deaths related to fireworks that happened in 2020, 12 were directly caused by misuse.
Another reason behind the ban is the amount of damage fireworks could potentially bring to homes and businesses in the city.
Although fireworks are illegal in Virginia Beach, in 2020, city officials saw an increase of over 70 percent in the number of calls reporting fireworks in neighborhoods to dispatchers just between May and June.
According to the injury attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp, this is one of the reasons why the law sets a high standard of duty for any person setting off fireworks. If an injury were to happen from the fireworks, they will be legally liable for their damages.
Where to See Fireworks in Virginia Beach
If you would like to enjoy a fireworks show with friends & family in Virginia Beach, you better leave it to the experts. The city organizes special yearly events where a massive fireworks show is displayed for all the locals and visitors to enjoy.
There are two main events that include firework shows for the public to enjoy in Virginia Beach.
- May 27th: Salute to summer. Located at 17th & 24th Street parks.
- July 4th: Stars & Stripes Celebration. Located at 17th, 20th, and 24th Street parks.
What Happens if You’re Caught with Fireworks in Virginia Beach
In Virginia Beach, if you are caught using illegal fireworks or pyrotechnics, you will be cited for a misdemeanor and will have your fireworks confiscated by the authorities. This Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine to the tune of $2,500, or both.
According to Virginia Beach fire marshal Terrence Tassone, fireworks that are confiscated from the public are destroyed safely by the police department’s bomb squad.
This is Why Fireworks Are Forbidden in Virginia Beach
To sum up, we’ve explored the reasons behind the ban on fireworks for the general public. It makes perfect sense given the number of injuries that are caused by fireworks yearly. The city does provide fireworks shows handled by professionals where residents can enjoy safely.