Ky. fireworks laws confuse public, retailers


by Rodney Spencer

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 5:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – As the community nears the July 4 holiday, there seems to be confusion about the various fireworks laws in Kentuckiana.

James Duval, a fireworks salesman, says business isn’t exactly booming for his stand.

“We’re losing about 50 percent of business because we can’t – we can’t sell them. We can’t do it,” he said.

Duval says the Louisville city ordinance banning the sale of fireworks is hurting his bottom line.

The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulates firework sales for the United States.

This department categorizes those fireworks deemed safe for use by the general public as 1.4 G or consumer fireworks.

Consumer fireworks are legal in most cities and states but the city of Louisville is an exception.

One out of every two or three people are saying ‘well I am going to go somewhere else’ and you know they’re going to make that ride to Indiana,” Duval said.

Louisville strictly prohibits the sale or use of all consumer fireworks with the exception of snakes, smoke devices, sparklers, fountains, wheels and spinners.

Fire Marshall Mike Allendorf says this ordinance is necessary to protect property owners.

“These things are not being done by professionals they cause problems. They do cause fires. Last year alone within Louisville Metro we had about $250 to $300,000 worth of damage caused by illegal fireworks,” he said.

Some of the more common fireworks labeled illegal in Louisville include bottle rockets and roman candles.

“We don’t want people hurt, we don’t want damage. You know you shoot a bottle rocket up and you don’t know where it’s going to land. You shoot it up a house over and three houses later you can burn someone’s house down,” Allendorf said.

Using or selling illegal fireworks in Louisville is grounds for a $250,000 fine or possible jail time.