What you need to know about Virginia and Tennessee State firework laws

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BRISTOL, Va (WJHL)- With less than a week away from the Fourth of July, firework sales are underway both in Tennessee and Virginia. But, state laws for fireworks in Tennessee and Virginia are different.

Lieutenant Tim Sexton with the Bristol Virginia Police Department interpreted what are prohibited fireworks listed in the Virginia State Code.

“Basically anything that has an explosion is how they describe it inside the code, Sexton said. “And anything inside the city that is a projectile.”

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, examples of permitted fireworks in Virginia include, sparklers, fountains, pinwheels. Examples of prohibited items include firecrackers, skyrockets, and torpedoes. Meanwhile, in Tennessee the sale of those items are all legal.

“So in Virginia it’s called safe and sane, which means that the fireworks can not shoot in the air and they have to stay still on the ground versus in Tennessee it depends on what county and city you are a part of,” said James Herington, a fireworks tent manager.

Herington says an issue our region faces are people from Virginia crossing the state line to purchase prohibited fireworks and bring them back to their state.

“Well a lot of times I don’t know who is from Virginia or from Tennessee,” Herington said. “I do advise that they check with their local authorities as to what they can and can’t shoot off.”

Counties and cities in both states have their own regulations on which fireworks can and can’t be used.

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