It is illegal for any citizen to set off aerial fireworks in Idaho unless they have a special permit for a public display. That is Idaho law.
As soon as someone lights a fuse on a bottle rocket, they are committing a crime.
What remains unclear is if a recent Idaho Attorney General analysis claiming Idaho Code bans the sale of aerial fireworks is enforceable.
For years, retailers – mostly in Canyon and Elmore counties — have sold aerial fireworks like bottle rockets or roman candles to customers after they sign a waiver that they won’t light them off in Idaho. Then the customers light ‘em off here anyway.
Such illegal, irresponsible, and dangerous activity is what led to the devastating Foothills fire last summer near Table Rock. That blaze destroyed one home, put hundreds of others at risk, and saddled the 20-year-old man who started the fire with a roman candle with bills totaling about $391,000.
The ability for retailers to sell fireworks in Idaho, to Idaho residents who aren’t allowed to use them, is a loophole that has vexed fire officials and law enforcement agencies for years.
There seemed to be a solution Tuesday when the Boise Fire Department issued a release citing a recent Idaho Attorney General’s analysis that determined it’s illegal for any retailer to sell aerial fireworks to people without a permit.
While we totally agree that such fireworks should not be sold to private citizens in Idaho, as the law allows for permitted public displays like Fourth of July celebrations, our initial interpretation of the recent AG’s analysis still leaves it unclear whether permits are required for private citizens to buy aerial fireworks when they promise not to use them in the State of Idaho.
We strongly encourage fireworks stands to not sell aerial fireworks to private citizens without a permit in Ada County this summer as they risk getting a citation.
This is a complex issue. Not only are aerial fireworks dangerous for the people who use them, they also put everyone else in the community at risk.