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General Laws

Section 39. No person shall sell, or keep or offer for sale, or have in his possession, or under his control, or use, or explode, or cause to explode, any combustible or explosive composition or substance, or any combination of such compositions or substances, or any other article, which was prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation.

For the purposes of this section the word “fireworks” shall include compositions, substances or other articles and shall also include blank cartridges or toy cannons in which explosives are used, the type of toy balloon which requires fire underneath to propel the same, firecrackers, cherry bombs, silver salutes, M-80’s, torpedoes, sky-rockets, Roman candles, sparklers, rockets, wheels, colored fires, fountains, mines, serpents, or other fireworks of like construction or any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound, or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance.

Whoever shall sell or keep for sale or offer for sale any fireworks in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both. Any officer qualified to serve criminal process may arrest without a warrant any person who shall sell or keep for sale or offer for sale any fireworks in violation of this section and any fireworks found in his possession or under his control upon conviction of such a violation shall be forfeited to the commonwealth.

Whoever shall have in his possession or under his control, or whoever shall use or explode or cause to explode any fireworks in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars. Any officer qualified to serve criminal process shall seize all of the fireworks mentioned herein without a warrant, and the fireworks seized shall, upon conviction of such violation, be forfeited to the commonwealth.

Notice of such seizure of the fireworks shall immediately be sent to the marshal by the officer making the seizure, and the fireworks seized shall be held and securely stored by that department until the marshal or his authorized representative takes them into his possession for disposal.

The term “fireworks” as used herein shall not include toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps or plastic caps containing twenty-five hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, if they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion, or toy pistol paper caps or plastic caps which contain less than twenty hundredths grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times; and provided, further, that this section shall not apply (1) to the sale of any fireworks to be shipped directly out of the commonwealth, or (2) to the sale of any such article for the use of, and its use by, persons having obtained a permit for a supervised display of such fireworks from the marshal or some officer designated by him therefor, under any provision of section thirty-nine A, or (3) to the sale of flares, lanterns or fireworks for the use of, and their use by, railroads, railways, boats, motor vehicles or other transportation agencies, or other activity, lawfully permitted or required to use any or all of such articles for signal purposes, illumination or otherwise, or (4) to the sale or use of blank cartridges for a duly licensed show or theatre or for signal or ceremonial purposes in athletics or sports, or to the sale of special blank cartridges and their use in the proper operation of industrial tools and equipment only, or (5) to experiments at a factory for explosives, or (6) to the sale of blank cartridges for the use of, or their use by, the militia or any organization of war veterans or other organizations authorized by law to parade in public, a color guard armed with firearms, or (7) in teaching the use of firearms by experts, or (8) to the sale of shells for firearms, cartridges, gunpowder, and for the purpose of using, and their use, or in connection with the hunting of game or in target practice with firearms, or (9) to farmers and fruit growers who, having obtained a permit under section thirteen of chapter forty-eight, use firecrackers for the control of damage to their crops by birds.

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