Starting this Fourth of July, nonprofit groups will be allowed to sell fireworks like Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn, according to a new state policy.
Kansas Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen has reinterpreted state regulations to permit groups to sell fireworks without having to set up a fireworks stand, the department announced.
That will allow groups wanting to raise money through fireworks sales to take orders door-to-door or at tables set up in the community and then deliver the fireworks to customers at home, said Kevin Doel, a spokesman for the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Sellers can take orders at any time, but the fireworks can be physically delivered to the customers only during the retail fireworks season, June 27-July 5, the office said in a statement.
“Until now, in order for an organization to generate fund-raising revenue through fireworks sales, they were required to operate a licensed fireworks stand,” the statement said. “This requirement prevented many organizations from selling fireworks because of the cost and manpower necessary to operate a fireworks stand.”
The rules were changed after the office received a request from Rep. Russell Jennings, R-Lakin, Doel said.
Jennings said the new rules go beyond what he requested.
He said he asked fire marshal officials to reinterpret a ban on advance sales to allow pre-ordering of fireworks, to be picked up from a licensed stand during the legal fireworks period.
“I was just looking for allowing the pre-ordering, prepayment and pickup at an appropriate outlet, whatever that is,” he said. “They went farther than I even asked. I don’t know that I have a problem with it.”
It was not immediately clear how the new rules will change the fireworks picture in Wichita.
The city code permits sale and use of driveway fireworks that can shoot sparks over a small radius.
But the city prohibits rockets, mortars, explosive firecrackers and Roman candles.
However, the banned fireworks are readily available in neighboring communities, and the Wichita ordinance is routinely ignored by celebrators across the city.
Doel said local jurisdictions will still be able to enforce ordinances against banned fireworks.
Customers who want to have locally prohibited fireworks delivered to their homes “can buy them and take them to an area where it isn’t illegal to shoot them,” he said.
Stuart Bevis, battalion chief for fire prevention at the Wichita Fire Department, said he and other city officials didn’t get any notice of the state changes and he didn’t immediately know how it might affect the city’s fireworks enforcement.
Cities are generally allowed to enforce stricter regulations on fireworks than the state fire marshal’s rules, he said.
Doel said late Wednesday that the fire marshal’s office plans to issue clarifications on how the state rules and local regulations will interact. He said that statement should come out on Thursday.