Tired of fireworks? Here’s what the law says

The bangs and booms of fireworks have echoed across the county for the past few weeks.

But now that the holiday is over, some residents have had their fill of fireworks. In Franklin alone, police have received nearly three dozen calls about fireworks in the past two weeks. Greenwood police have received about 50 fireworks related calls since the start of July, according to the county’s emergency call log.

And in several local communities, your neighbors may be breaking local rules when they set off fireworks starting this week.

In recent years, local communities have approved restrictions on when fireworks can be set outside of the Fourth of July and New Year’s.

For Greenwood, this is the first summer the restrictions have been in effect, and they begin today. In Franklin and New Whiteland, residents were required to stop shooting fireworks after Sunday.

Fireworks won’t be allowed again in any of those communities until Dec. 31.

But in Whiteland and Bargersville, residents can still shoot off fireworks any time of the year, provided that they don’t do it too often. Residents in those towns can’t shoot off fireworks for more than three hours in a 24-hour period and only on up to three days in one week per household, according to local rules.

Fines for shooting fireworks in times that aren’t allowed range from $25 to $500, depending on what community you are in and whether or not it is your first offense.

In the unincorporated areas of the county, such as the Center Grove area, the county doesn’t have specific rules. But state law, which says fireworks can be shot off between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., would still apply.

Johnson County Commissioner Ron West said he hasn’t received complaints from residents about fireworks. The difficulties in enforcing restrictions on fireworks use is one of the reasons the county hasn’t pursued creating those rules.

The challenge is often with locating where the fireworks are being set off. If the person who is shooting them off has stopped by the time an officer has arrived, finding them can be difficult, Franklin Police Deputy Chief Chris Tennell said.

When officers do find people violating the rules — either using fireworks during a time they shouldn’t or in a way that isn’t safe — officers usually inform the people of the city’s fireworks rules. As long as they comply, officers aren’t likely to issue a fine, he said.

None of the 33 fireworks complaints police have been called to in the past two weeks resulted in any fines, Tennell said.

Residents who do see or hear fireworks being used illegally should normally contact their police department’s non-emergency line, he said.

At a glance

Here’s a look at the rules for when you can and cannot shoot off fireworks across Johnson County:

Greenwood: Fireworks allowed between June 24 and today, and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1

Franklin: Fireworks allowed between June 29 and July 9, and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1

New Whiteland: Fireworks allowed between June 29 and July 9, and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1

Bargersville: Fireworks allowed June 29 and July 9, and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. For the rest of the year, fireworks are allowed, but must be limited to no more than three hours a day and three days a week per household, and can only be done between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Whiteland: Fireworks allowed June 29 and July 9, and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. For the rest of the year, fireworks are allowed, but must be limited to no more than three hours a day and three days a week per household, and can only be done between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Unincorporated Johnson County: No local restrictions on fireworks.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.