TRAVERSE CITY — Booming fireworks are expected around Memorial Day, but changes in state law mean shooting off larger fireworks the day-of might not be allowed.
Fireworks are legal in Michigan, but state law allows local governments to restrict the days and times certain types can be used — up to a point, said Kit Tholen, deputy civil counsel for Grand Traverse County.
The new law, which went into effect Dec. 28, 2018, says governments can't forbid the use of consumer fireworks from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the following days:
• The Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day;
• June 29 to July 4;
• July 5, if it’s a Friday or Saturday;
• The Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day.
Also, consumer fireworks always are allowed from 11 a.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Consumer fireworks, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, include: aerials, bottle/sky rockets, reloadable shell devices, roman candles, firecrackers, missile-type rockers, helicopter/aerial spinner and single-tube devices with reports.
“If they (local governments) don’t ban them, fireworks are legal 365 days a year,” said Bill Barnes, co-owner of Pro Fireworks. Barnes worked with the Legislature on the original 2011 law and it’s amendment.
The original version of the law was passed in 2011. It forbade regulating the use of consumer fireworks the day before, of and after all federal holidays, said Barnes.
“It wasn’t convenient for shooters and the people that had to listen to them,” Barnes said. “Nobody wants to light off fireworks Tuesday night. It’s the middle of a weekday.”
Traverse City commissioners voted on May 20 to update the city’s ordinance to be more restrictive, but it won’t go into effect until May 30.
“The idea is that, certainly people can celebrate, but it’s limited so it doesn’t disturb everybody’s lives,” said Marty Colburn, Traverse City manager.
The state law requires that such ordinances impose a fine of $1,000 for each violation, $500 of which is to go to the law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the ordinance.
Traverse City Police Chief Jeffrey O’Brien said he can’t think of many problems the city has had with fireworks, but he believes it’s a good law.
O’Brien said that, in his opinion, fireworks are a nuisance for the most part. Shooting off a few rounds is fine, but 30 to 45 minutes of them gets annoying, he said.
Check your local municipalities website for fireworks ordinances and contact local law enforcement with violation concerns.
No one under the age of 18 is allowed to purchase consumer fireworks.
No one under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol are allowed to use consumer or low-impact fireworks.
Fireworks may not be used on public, school, church or private property of another person unless express permission is obtained.
No one may use consumer or low-impact fireworks with the intention to harass, scare or injure livestock.