Police advise hands off fireworks

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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When it comes to fireworks, handle with extreme care. Local law enforcement, though, recommends people not handle them at all, especially this coming Saturday, July 4.

“The Franklin Police Department would like everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. As cookouts and family gatherings get underway, we would like to remind everyone that fireworks are illegal in the City of Franklin, as well as discharging a firearm within city limits,” agency spokesman Sgt. Scott Halverson stated in a press release on Tuesday.

Statewide fire prevention code prohibits the use of firecrackers or any firework that explodes, travels laterally or shoots into the air.

Possessing, selling or using unlawful fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Further, he noted that the Fire Prevention Code, title 27, prohibits the sale and use of fireworks unless approved by permit and further directs law enforcement officers to seize such fireworks during enforcement operations.

Halverson also quoted Virginia State Code 18.2-280, which states, “If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm in any street in a city or town, or in any place of public business or place of public gathering, and such conduct results in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such conduct does not result in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

He continued, “Discharging firearms into the air or ground may seem safe, but the path of that bullet is unknown and could ricochet off an item or fall to the ground and strike a person.”

“Fireworks, used in the right environments, provide for a great show. Used in the wrong environment they can lead to bodily injury and fires,” the sergeant wrote.

He asked that residents who think that someone is discharging either fireworks or firearms to please contact the FPD at 562-8575; in emergency situations, call 911.

[Editor’s note: This version corrects the last sentence.]