Local Government

Sacramento City Council to review ordinance seeking to fine property owners for illegal fireworks

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  —  A newly-drafted amendment to Sacramento City Code chapter 8.48 was passed by the Law and Legislation committee Tuesday evening and will move to the Sacramento City Council for review in May.

The ordinance seeks to fine homeowners for any illegal fireworks used on their property following an increase in aerial firework fires on the 4th of July. Due to COVID-19, 2020 saw a dip in the enforcement of illegal firework laws, which brought in 20–25 arrests and over $30,000 in fines in 2018 and 2019.

Illegal fireworks, as defined by the ATF, are “poorly built using highly volatile compounds,” with the most common varieties including M-80s, M-250s, and “quarter sticks” which resemble a roll of coins with a fuse. A full outline by the FDA on illegal fireworks and other explosives can be viewed here.

The amendment is lauded by Sacramento City Fire Marshal Jason Lee, who says without the amendment, officials have to visually confirm firework activity at the property before physically arresting those involved.

“We can have somebody from the fire department, an officer, or from city code enforcement, or police just do a patrol of the neighborhood. If they see firework activity leaving the ground at a property, we can then issue a citation via mail to the property,” Lee told ABC 10.

The citations will range from $1,000 to $2,500 for initial offenses and can reach up to as much as $5,000 for repeat culprits. The amendment also seeks to prohibit the use of “safe and sane” fireworks between 11 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Since the amendment was approved by the Law and Legislation Committee, it will be brought up to the Sacramento City Council in mid-May. If approved, it will go into effect in June — just in time for the 4th of July.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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