Local governments prepare for fireworks legalization

Fireworks will be legal for the first time in Georgia on July 1 when HB 110 goes into effect, creating wider access to sparkling explosives within the state.

The law stipulates that local governments are not allowed to put any additional regulations on the sale or use of fireworks, except as provided by state law.

Because of these provisions, many cities and counties around Georgia have not created any mandated guidelines for usage, though some are recommending safety advice.

“At this time we have not ratified any action relative to the sale of fireworks within our jurisdiction,” said Ricky Clarky, city clerk of Jonesboro.

While Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis does not plan to create extra legislation, he said he will monitor any safety and business concerns and discuss potential actions  if needed.

Gwinnett County will also follow state law as far as how long into the night consumers will be able to light fireworks, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is in the process of developing safety guidelines, said Communications Director Joe Sorenson.

However, the Sandy Springs City Council approved a 90-day moratorium during its June 2 meeting on acceptance of applications for use permits pertaining to the sale of fireworks.

The purpose of the extra time is to allow for the consideration and adoption of appropriate zoning ordinances covering the retail sale of fireworks, said Sharon Kraun, communications director for the city, as it is not listed as an approved type of business under the City’s Zoning Ordinances.

Still, some have offered tips to stay safe.

The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety suggests all firework usage to be supervised by a responsible adult.

Cobb County Deputy Fire Marshal Nick Dawe said people should be aware of the type of fireworks they are purchasing, take safety precautions and remember that they may be liable for any damage they cause.