'Whatever goes up or blows up' is illegal
The St. Petersburg Police Department encourages everyone to celebrate safely and responsibly this Fourth of July. The department gets many calls every year about those who observe the holiday with illegal fireworks.
Statistics show that illegal fireworks are a public safety hazard. Several thousand people, mostly children, are injured by illegal fireworks every year in the United States.
Here is a rule of thumb to determine if your fireworks are unlawful: "Whatever goes up or blows up" is illegal.
The police department also receives many calls every Fourth of July about celebratory gunfire.
Guns are not party favors, and shooting a gun in the city is a crime. A bullet shot into the air has the potential to cause serious injury or property damage. Remember, what goes up must come down. A few years ago, two people walking downtown shortly after midnight on New Year's were struck by falling stray bullets. Both survived their injuries.
On a side note, anyone with information about a gun crime committed in the city could qualify for up to a $1,500 reward for an assault weapon and a $1,000 reward for any other firearm. Tipsters remain anonymous. Call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay toll-free at 1-800-873-8477 for more information.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg Police Department