LOS ANGELES – Following his announcement last week of a coordinated public awareness campaign to warn Angelenos about the harmful impacts of illegal fireworks and his Office’s efforts to curb online fireworks sales, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced significant steps to reduce online sales on the eve of the July 4th weekend.
Today he announced that, following investigations and outreach by his Office, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Letgo, and OfferUp have agreed to remove specific fireworks-related posts highlighted by the Office, redouble their efforts to remove all posts offering fireworks for sale from their platforms and cooperate closely with the Office on this effort moving forward.
"All of us are feeling under siege by illegal fireworks, so I’m pleased these online platforms responded so quickly and agreed to remove fireworks posts and work with our Office to delete future ones," said Feuer. "Fireworks in L.A. are illegal for good reason: they are extremely dangerous for all Angelenos, and especially harrowing for veterans with PTSD, kids with special needs, and pets. Our work targeting sales on the most popular online platforms makes illegal fireworks that much harder to buy."
The City Attorney’s Office also shared information to assist platforms in finding and removing posts offering fireworks for sale. This included alerting them about practices its internal investigation uncovered about how sellers of fireworks attempt to hide their posts from being monitored. It also included information on consumer complaints about online fireworks sales that have been directed to the City Attorney.
Under Municipal Code section 57.5608.1.2, it is unlawful to use, possess, sell or discharge any fireworks in the City of Los Angeles. Additionally, California Health and Safety Code section 12671 prohibits the sale of any type of fireworks unless the State Fire Marshal has given approval. Sales of more powerful and dangerous fireworks are additionally prohibited under Health and Safety Code section 12676 unless the seller has first verified that the buyer has a valid permit to receive, use or transport such fireworks. Violations of all of these code sections are misdemeanors.
Throughout the country, and across communities in Los Angeles, reports of illegal fireworks being set off have skyrocketed this year. Unauthorized fireworks displays pose grave public health and safety dangers at a time when emergency rooms are concentrating on surging COVID-19 cases. They can trigger explosions and house and wildfires, putting neighborhoods, first responders and wildlife in peril. Illegal fireworks can cause serious injuries and pose particular challenges for veterans suffering from PTSD and kids with special needs such as autism spectrum disorders. Even household pets are not immune; more dogs run away and get lost during the week of July 4th each year than at any other time.
Platforms have advised the Office that consumers also can directly assist with these efforts by flagging any posts offering fireworks they see on the platforms. As an example, consumers who find postings for fireworks on Craigslist can help to get those removed by submitting that information to Craigslist on this complaint form: https://losangeles.craigslist.org/contact?step=form&reqType=abuse_tou)
Residents may also turn in their illegal fireworks without penalty. They should first call 877-ASK-LAPD for guidance.