There are still about two and a half weeks before the Fourth of July, but we’re already starting to hear occasional illegal fireworks in our neighborhoods (and, yes, unless you live near Dodger Stadium and can hear the weekly fireworks there, anything you hear at the moment is probably illegal).
This is par for the course in Los Angeles, though, and so are official warnings from city officials against the use and sale of illegal fireworks. The year’s first such warning was issued this morning by City Attorney Mike Feuer, with additional urgency because of our ongoing drought.
In his statement today, Feuer said, “The risk of devastating, quickly spreading fires sparked by fireworks is severe this year, not to mention the ever present threat of serious, life-altering injuries. That’s why we’re starting early this year, cracking down and urging Angelenos to leave fireworks to the pros.”
According to Feuer, it is “unlawful and a misdemeanor to use, sell, possess or discharge any fireworks in the City,” and California law, too, prohibits fireworks sales. Violators “who are found guilty of the misdemeanor crime of using, selling, possessing or discharging any fireworks within the City of Los Angeles could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $1000.”
Feuer said his office’s Consumer Protection Unit is working hard to crack down on illegal fireworks sales, and “has again issued cease and desist letters to popular social marketplaces – Meta (Facebook), OfferUp, craigslist and 5miles – demanding that they remove posts offering fireworks for sale in the City of Los Angeles, a violation of both municipal and state law.” Those platforms have all agreed to comply with the city’s efforts, Feuer said, and have removed fireworks ads identified by the City Attorney’s Office, which has already filed criminal charges against one person for selling fireworks on craigslist to an undercover officer.
But Feuer’s statement also said that, on the positive side, there does seem to be a “marked decrease in the number of ads for fireworks since the Office started taking these actions in 2020.”
To help cut down the use of illegal fireworks this year, said Feuer’s statement, staff from his office’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program have sent more than 4,400 letters to residents in areas identified by LAPD as having large numbers complaints and service calls related to fireworks, reminding residents of the law…while LAPD will also be providing anti-fireworks training to its officers between now and the upcoming holiday.
In addition to being illegal, Feuer’s statement noted that “fireworks set off at unplanned hours can be harrowing for our neighbors with Post-traumatic stress disorder, including combat Veterans, first responders and survivors of gun violence. Fireworks can also be distressing for children with special needs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or other sensory issues, who may not be able to tolerate the noise. Additionally, fireworks can be terrifying to pets. According to Los Angeles Animal Services, the loud noises can cause dogs and cats to escape their homes and yards attempting to look for safety. More pets go missing around July 4th than any other time of the year.”
Finally, to help those who do enjoy fireworks experience them safely, Feuer provided a list of local professional fireworks shows (scroll down on that page to “Local Fireworks Shows 2022”), as well as a video message – below – about fireworks safety.
If you would like to report non-emergency illegal use or sales of fireworks, call (877) ASK-LAPD (877-275-5273). Emergency situations should be reported to 311.
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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