NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, in an effort to prevent injuries (read: protect you from yourself) while New Yorkers are celebrating the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, wants you to just hand over any illegal fireworks you plan to blow off come Wednesday.
We’ve got news for Ray Kelly: if he wants our fireworks, he’ll have to pry them from our cold, dead hands (assuming we haven’t blown off our hands with illegal fireworks)!
Kelly, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, and several local lawmakers are sponsoring a “Fireworks Amnesty Day” at the NYPD’s 62nd Precinct. According to the law-dogs, if you drop off explosives, “No questions will be asked. No charges will be filed. No names or identification required. All fireworks will be accepted.”
If you actually run down to the police station and hand over your fireworks out of fear of possible prosecution, you’re a f**king schmuck — and here’s why…
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.
So, if you plan on blowing off fireworks this Fourth of July, just don’t get caught with more than $50 worth at any given time. This means don’t pile them up to show your friends how many explosives you have — just leave them hidden in your house and only bring them outside as you plan on using them. Worst case scenario, you pay a fine (or blow off your fingers).