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Fireworks Bans Cause Some Confusion

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Fireworks and Independence Day seem to go hand in hand, but using fireworks in some Front Range cities will cost you.

Police say the grace period is over for those who use fireworks illegally and insist they will not be giving out any more warnings, just tickets to violators. The threat of tickets has not slowed down some who continue to flood into fireworks stands.

“Last year was extremely dry in most parts of the state,” says Aeron Calkins, owner of Olde Glory Fireworks on Federal Boulevard. “This year with the increased moisture, there’s a large part of the state that is ready to celebrate.”

Despite the increase of firework sales in the metro area, confusing fireworks laws have some people questioning exactly what is and is not legal.

“Often times we’ll hear ‘I didn’t know it’s illegal in Denver. I just drove from Adams County or Arapahoe County from the city,’ ” said Detective John White of the Denver Police Department.

The confusion of the different firework laws not only make it more difficult for Coloradans to comply, but also make it more difficult for police to crack down on lawbreakers.

“It can be confusing,” said White. “We realize there is a patchwork — so to speak — of laws that differ depending on which jurisdiction you’re in.”

The different laws in separate jurisdictions allow some stands to sell fireworks and remain in business despite bans. Calkins’ store Olde Glory Fireworks has a Denver address but it is located in Adams County, which allows fireworks in unincorporated areas. Because Calkins’ shop is not technically located in Denver he is allowed to continue selling.

“There was some early confusion,” says Calkins who had to shut down one of his firework shops in Arapahoe County due to laws.

Fireworks are prohibited in Arapahoe County but some stands continue to sell there because they say the state law allows them to. The Arapahoe County Sheriff says that there are still three stands actively selling fireworks in the county.

Due to of all of the recent confusion, Calkins has a warning to those who have purchased fireworks to think about before lighting them off.

“You still have to check with your local authorities,” says Calkins. “Not just this year, but there areas that never allow the use of fireworks. But in most cases, these fireworks are Colorado legal.”

Denver police have a similar message to those thinking about taking the risk to purchase fireworks for the 4th of July. If you are caught with just one single firework in Denver you could face up to a year in jail and a $999 fine.

Denver police are teaming up with firefighters who respond to firework related calls to enforce the bans within their jurisdiction.

- Written by Josh Christensen for CBSDenver.com

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