Fireworks Amnesty Day: People Actually Participated (Sigh)
If you just gave police your illegal fireworks, that arrow should be pointed at you.
As we noted last week, if you just walk into a police station and hand over your illegal fireworks during what NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and other local law-dogs dubbed "Fireworks Amnesty Day," you're a "f**king schmuck."
That said, there apparently a few schmucks out there.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, law enforcement officials collected 1,735 explosives during this year's annual free pass for fireworks possessors.
That's not to say 1,735 people actually handed their illegal fireworks over to police, that's the number of individual explosives collected (the Brooklyn D.A.'s Office didn't immediately get back to us when asked how many people participated).
As we reported last week, on Saturday, authorities held "Fireworks Amnesty Day" at the NYPD's 62nd Precinct in Brooklyn. For anyone dumb enough to give away their explosives, law enforcement officials promised that "No questions will be asked. No charges will be filed. No names or identification required. All fireworks will be accepted."
As we explained last week, there is absolutely no reason to do this -- fireworks are awesome, blowing shit up is fun, and simply possessing small amounts of explosives isn't even a crime.
From our post last week:
According to New York State penal code, your run-of-the-mill (more on what constitutes as "run-of-the-mill" below) fireworks possessor is only guilty of a violation, which is essentially the same thing as a parking ticket. In other words, you can blow off your fireworks, get caught, pay a fine, promise to never do it again, blah, blah, blah. Then you can take a road trip to Virginia and stock up on explosives for next year.
Selling fireworks in the Empire State is a bit more serious -- you could potentially get hit with a class-B misdemeanor if you get caught. If the fireworks you're selling are worth more than $500, the charges could be increased to a class-A misdemeanor.
Here's the kick in the balls: In New York, you can get charged with a misdemeanor if you get busted with fireworks worth more than $50 because (according to New York law) "possession of fireworks or dangerous fireworks valued at fifty dollars or more shall be a presumption that such fireworks were intended to be offered or exposed for sale."
Fifty dollars worth of fireworks isn't a lot, so to presume that anything over that amount is for "sale" is a horseshit way for the man to charge you with a misdemeanor.
If you were one of the smart ones who didn't fall for law enforcement's ploy to get you to have no fun this Fourth of July, feel free to blow off fireworks to your heart's content -- just don't get caught with more than $50 worth at any given time.
If you're actually interested in learning more about the dangers of fireworks, Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes will be offering a (taxpayer funded) tutorial this afternoon to explain how explosives can potentially lead to injuries. As much as we'd love to be there to offer a stern "no shit -- can you go convict criminals now?," we will not be in attendance.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.