Are they legal? Are they illegal? Can you buy them or can't you? There is plenty of confusion regarding aerial fireworks in the Gem State this Fourth of July.
At least some of that confusion stems from an opinion released by the Attorney General's office earlier this week.
The A.G.'s office released a statement on Wednesday clarifying some of that confusion:
There’s been a considerable amount of confusion regarding a recent legal analysis my office prepared at the request of a state lawmaker. As a result, there are several points I would like to clarify.
1. In Idaho, the Office of the Attorney General is required by law to respond to requests for legal analysis from legislators. The letter containing the analysis was sent to the lawmaker June 21. It was made public by the Boise Fire Department Tuesday, June 27.
2. The analysis is simply a legal opinion on Idaho’s existing fireworks laws. It does not change any laws. It is not a ban, a ruling, a decision or a directive.
3. My office does not enforce Idaho’s fireworks laws. Enforcement is handled by county sheriffs, prosecutors, and city police departments.
4. Some law enforcement agencies may agree with the analysis and change their enforcement policies. Others may ignore it. I encourage these entities to review it and consult with their respective attorneys on how they should proceed.
5. I encourage consumers and fireworks retailers to contact their local police agencies to stay apprised of any changes in enforcement policies.
We spoke with Nampa Fire Chief Phil Roberts who says it's not fair to change enforcement practices right now.
"My difficulty is the letter coming after we had approved every booth. The applications were all in last Friday and the last booth was inspected," Chief Roberts said. "It was legal to sell Saturday and on Tuesday we get this letter. We support everything about the letter other than the timing."
There are not a lot of firework stands with aerial fireworks in Canyon County but the ones that there are continue to sell. The same goes for the stands in Middleton city limits where law enforcement seems to agree that the timing was poor for people who have spent months preparing.
One stand we spoke with said if they had known about this possibility six months ago they would have made changes.
"Oh yeah, we would have found another hobby or job, or worked as usual at our normal job," said Sherrie Herron.
All the stand we contacted that still sell aerial fireworks say they've been left alone, including the biggest, Rocky Mountain Fur and Fireworks.