Local News

N.C. Residents Make Illegal Runs For the Border

Posted June 23, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Most fireworks in North Carolina are illegal, but that does not stop people from crossing the border to stockpile Fourth of July firepower.

A quick look at the car plates at one of the first firework stands over the South Carolina border leaves no doubt as to where most of the customers are coming from.

"Most of the people we get from North Carolina are probably around July 3rd and 4th," assistant manager Frank Spivey said. "They'll be hundreds from North Carolina that day because usually it's just a lot of local people from up around Rowland, Pembroke."

Fireworks like firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles and just about everything that explodes or flies into the air are illegal to blow off in North Carolina without a permit. A person can legally bring fireworks into the state if they do not sell them or blow them off.

"So they'll come down here and buy it and just take it back home," Spivey said. "I think a lot of them probably sell it. Some of them use it for their own families."

Some North Carolinians who live near the border are frustrated because of the law.

"I really don't think it's fair, it's like the lottery," Fayetteville resident Marie McNeill said. "You cross into Virginia and buy lottery tickets, but you can't buy them in North Carolina. You can't do anything in North Carolina."

McNeill says her North Carolina neighbors ignore the law.

"My neighbors shoot them every night. I mean every night," McNeill said. "Since it's gotten warm they shoot them every night."

Police can charge individuals caught blowing off illegal fireworks with a misdemeanor and issue fines.