One might not know it from the din of fireworks going off across the Kansas City area on the Fourth of July, but fireworks are actually illegal in most local municipalities.
While some area cities such as Belton allow shooting off fireworks — with regulations — they are banned altogether in most communities, including Grandview, Kansas City, Overland Park and Olathe. They are also banned in unincorporated areas of Johnson County and in Jackson County, despite some exceptions for fireworks sales.
This year, as in the past, it is expected that some will flout the law, neighbors will call police, and officers will respond to issue warnings, confiscate fireworks or write tickets according to the situation, city ordinances and the policies of the police department in question.
The issue, police say, is safety. Fireworks gone awry can start house fires and injure people. Kansas City area law enforcement began responding to fireworks-related injuries Saturday afternoon, with at least one person losing some of his fingertips to an ill-timed blast.
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Here’s a sample of local municipality policies:
In Kansas City, officers will issue tickets in some cases and seize fireworks.
In Overland Park, it is illegal to purchase, possess or discharge any fireworks, including sparklers and snakes. Offenders can receive tickets upward of $200. In recent years, Overland Park police have received more than 140 fireworks complaints around an Independence Day holiday and given out more than 40 citations, according to information provided by the city.
Grandview police have been in the practice of preparing barrels of water to dunk confiscated fireworks.
Belton allows some shooting of fireworks on private property, with conditions.
In 2014, the state of Kansas counted 158 injuries from fireworks, nearly 40 percent of them to children ages 12 and younger. Most were burns, and most injuries involved the hands, eyes, head and neck. Ten required amputations.
The most common types of fireworks involved in injuries were smoke bombs, mortar shells and artillery shells. Of those injured, 63 percent were actually operating the fireworks and more than 30 percent of the injuries were suffered by bystanders.