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Thousands flock to buy and use illegal fireworks under loophole in state law

Posted at 2:20 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 08:57:25-04
If it launches or explodes, it's off limits. That's the warning the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is putting out on the eve of Fourth of July. Setting off fireworks is against the law, but there is a loophole in Florida law that allows people to buy popular mortars and rockets.
The state allows for people to use fireworks if it's for agricultural or mining purposes, or for a show, theater, or athletic and sport ceremonies. 
When you buy fireworks in the state, you will likely have to fill out a form acknowledging that using fireworks under any other circumstance without a permit is illegal. 
Sparklers and noisemakers are legal to buy and light up. 
At fireworks shops across the state, the lines get long leading up to the fourth, but it's not just for novelties and trick noisemakers. 
"I got a bunch of stuff that goes 'boom'," said Charles Governali of West Palm Beach.
With all the Independence Day deals, Governali got the most bang for his buck at Sky King Fireworks. 
"This is a great place, everything that I’ve used here goes off the way it's supposed to. I haven’t been hurt, see I got all my fingers," said Governali.
But all fun and jokes aside, Governali, like every customer, had to sign a form verifying his use of fireworks falls under the state exemption. 
"You have to be responsible. I mean every time you drive your car you have to be responsible and be safe," said Tom Gregor of Sky King Fireworks. 
The store is open year-round, but as Fourth of July approaches, sales explode. 
"Between today and tomorrow are our busiest days," said Gregor. 
And if you're buying to get the biggest boom, be safe. 
"Happy Birthday America!" added Governali. 
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says you can use fireworks legally if you have a permit. In order for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to enforce the law, a deputy has to witness an individual using the illegal firework.
If caught, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.