LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The first Independence Day was celebrated in July 1777 and featured fireworks, a tradition which continues to this day.
Since then, the nation has grown, and since then government bodies large and small have passed laws regarding fireworks use, Arkansas not in the least.
In Arkansas, by state law, fireworks may be sold only between June 10 to July 20, and December 10 through January 5 for those looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang. Outside of those dates, pyrotechnics are allowed provided they have less than a quarter gram of explosive, such as what the law calls “smoke sticks,” sparklers or toy gun “caps.”
But that same legal code has an important provision in subchapter 704: “This subchapter shall not affect the power of any municipality to regulate or prohibit the sale or use of fireworks,” meaning county and city governments are able to create laws to govern fireworks sales, display and/or use.
Little Rock, as a case in point, prohibits possessing fireworks, or even using or storing them, meaning there is no (legal) shooting off of fireworks in Little Rock unless you have a license and are in the process of putting on a fireworks display.
North Little Rock, like Little Rock, has the same rule: No fireworks, with the city website reminding that possession of fireworks may lead to a $200 fine. Maumelle also prohibits setting off fireworks in the city.
Pulaski County is less restricted than the cities, with the county fireworks regulations in the Fire Chief’s Handbook being a verbatim copy of the state fireworks laws, carrying the dates restrictions into that county.
Benton and Bryant have similar fireworks ordinances to each other, and both are more open to fireworks use they their neighboring cities in Pulaski County.
Benton only allows fireworks to be set off from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the days of July 2 to July 4, and the fireworks must be used in a “safe and sane manner,” in the ordinance’s words, on private property, and never within 300 feet of a city park. Fines can reach $500 for each offense.
Bryant has the time and date restrictions running from noon to 10 p.m. on July 3 to July 5, with the same “no” on setting off fireworks within 300 feet of a public park, or 1,000 feet of a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. The fire chief is also allowed to issue a fireworks ban if dry conditions exist.
Saline County, like Pulaski, refers back to the state laws, but reminds that each of its cities has a fireworks ordinance.
Conway, like Little Rock, does not allow fireworks inside the city, either setting them off, owning them or selling them.
Neighboring Greenbrier is slightly less restricted, permitting fireworks 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3 to 5.
Faulkner County, however, has no fireworks ordinance on its books, although the state law, of course, remains in effect.
The Consumer Products Safety Commision reminds that 74% of fireworks injuries in the nation take place the weekend of July 4, a number which has steadily increased every year since 2008. The majority of these injuries come from firecrackers.
Parents are reminded to supervise children and keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy when using fireworks.