In an effort to reduce the use of illegal fireworks in Los Angeles during the Fourth of July, City Attorney Mike Feuer said Tuesday that his office’s Consumer Protection Unit sent cease-and-desist letters to major online platforms that were hosting fireworks advertisements in Los Angeles.
“It’s illegal to sell or possess fireworks in L.A. for good reason,” Feuer said. “Fireworks pose the very real risk of injuries, and our fire danger is acutely high given the ongoing drought. In addition, the loud, sudden noise can be triggering for veterans and survivors of gun violence with PTSD, and awful for families with special needs children and for pets.
“Angelenos should leave fireworks to the pros, and with pandemic restrictions easing there will be many spectacular Fourth of July events throughout Southern California,” he added.
The online platforms — which included Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp and 5Miles — agreed to remove the advertisements targeting customers in Los Angeles, Feuer’s office said. The letters informed the corporations that the platforms hosted fireworks-for-sale offers in Los Angeles, in violation of municipal and state law.
Los Angeles Municipal Code section 57.5608.1.1 says it is unlawful and a misdemeanor to use, sell, possess or discharge any fireworks in the city. Some of the corporations had their own policies prohibiting the sale of fireworks.
OfferUp told Feuer it added staff to ensure that future posts offering the sale of fireworks are excluded from the site, and Facebook Marketplace said it would work to identify and remove similar listings going forward, Feuer said.
It’s the second consecutive year that Feuer’s office has worked to reduce online sales of fireworks before the Fourth of July, noting the disruption that pyrotechnics cause to neighbors and pets, as well as the risk of fire.
People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as veterans, first responders and survivors of gun violence, can be impacted by the unexpected loud noise caused by fireworks at unplanned hours, Feuer said. Additionally, children with special needs, including autism spectrum disorder and sensory issues, may have trouble tolerating the noise, and pets often escape their homes and yards in an attempt to find safety.
Additionally, the use of legal and illegal fireworks in Southern California last July created the worst air quality in the region in a decade, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Concentrations of PM2.5 were 70% higher than previous years between 7 p.m. on the Fourth of July and 7 a.m. the next day in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the AQMD.
People can report fireworks at complaint.lacity.org/Complaint/fireworks, and those who have unwanted fireworks can turn them into the LAPD without penalty.
In May, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion to pursue a fireworks buyback program and reward program for people who report major suppliers of fireworks.