You might not believe this.
Fireworks are openly sold in Florida, in stores, roadside tents and flea markets. However, it is illegal to set off just about any type or pyrotechnical device that goes up in the air or goes boom. The only fireworks permitted are sparklers.
So why are so many fireworks sold without any regard for the laws?
There is a clause in the state law that permits the sale of fireworks to anyone who owns a railroad or a fish farm. Those railroad barons need to light the way for the trains and the fish farmers are permitted to use fireworks to frighten away any birds or animals from their crop.
In order to legally purchase fireworks, a buyer must sign a form, swearing that they are going to use the fireworks in one of the specified ways. Seriously, I am not making this up.
Based on the amount of fireworks sold, Florida should be the top producer of farmed fish in the world. And of course, if that is the case, all of the railroads are needed to take the fish to market. It makes perfect sense, if you are a lawmaker.
There must be a lot of fish farms in my area. Each July 4th and New Year’s Eve, I hear and see loads of fireworks in the air. The fish farmers must be really bashful, because as hard as I’ve tried, I have never found one fish farm nearby.
You may ask, why do the police not enforce the laws? Good question. The standard answer is always it is too difficult to track down a violator as well as witnesses to testify against a non railroading fish farmer. The authorities just are not interested in trying to stop the booms, bangs and things that light up the sky.
The fine for setting off the fireworks is up to $1,000.00 and or a year in jail. In our eleven years of Florida living, we have never heard of one person being arrested, let alone prosecuted, for violating the fireworks laws.
So, as you sit outside this Fourth and hear all of the fish farmers and railroad owners setting off their fireworks, think of them not as pretty aerial displays, but as a tribute to the lobbyists who must have spent tons of money to convince Floriduh’s lawmakers to pass this ridiculous statute.
I’ve been working on the railroad, all the live long day…