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Buckfire Law Wishes You a Happy Fourth of July!

Summer is officially upon us, and that means the Fourth of July is just around the corner!

Whether your celebration includes a barbecue, fireworks, or your mom calling to read you the full Declaration of Independence over the phone, we hope you have a fun, safe holiday with family and friends.

While many of us are familiar with the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War as the origins of July 4th, here are some lesser-known facts about Independence Day, courtesy of, to get you in the holiday spirit:

  • There were five members appointed to the committee to draft a formal statement severing ties with Great Britain, although what came to be the Declaration of Independence was largely written by Thomas Jefferson.
  • The actual vote for independence occurred on July 2nd, not July 4th. The Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th
  • John Adams, one of the five members on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, fervently believed that American independence should be celebrated on July 2nd, and he would even turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.
  • Three out of the five Founding Father Presidents died on America's Indpendence Day. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 -- the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. 
  • Americans celebrated the very first Fourth of July in 1776 with mock funerals for King George III, symbolizing the end of Britain's control over America.
  • Philadelphia held the first annual celebration of July 4th in 1777.
  • Massachusetts was the first state to declare July 4th an official state holiday.

Today, many Americans view July 4th not as a political symbol, but rather as an expression of patriotism. As such, celebrations often include a lot of red, white and blue, parades, and classic American music (re: Whitney Houston's flawless rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner").

Fireworks Laws in Michigan

It wouldn't be July 4th without fireworks!

Within the past few years, the state of Michigan passed a new law allowing the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks. These include, for example, Roman candles and bottle rockets. 

As these fireworks are larger and more dangerous than what was previously legal in Michigan, the state has also enacted some restrictions. For example:

  • Purchasers must be at least 18-years old
  • Retailers must apply and be granted certification before selling fireworks
  • Use of consumer fireworks is prohibited while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Use is prohibited on public property, and permission is required for use on another's private property

Supplementary ordinances have been left up to the local governments. Before this July 4th, make sure you know these state laws surrounding fireworks, as well as any laws that apply to your local community.

In Grand RapidsAnn Arbor, Dearborn, Lansing, and Kalamazoo:

  • Consumer fireworks can only be used on July 3rd, July 4th, and July 5th from 8 am to 11:59 pm.
  • On any day other than the day before, day of, or day after a national holiday, consumer fireworks cannot be ignited, discharged, or used.

In Traverse City and East Lansing:

  • Consumer fireworks can only be used on July 3rd, July 4th, and July 5th from 8 am to 12:59 am.
  • On any day other than the day before, day of, or day after a national holiday, consumer fireworks cannot be ignited, discharged, or used.

Failure to comply with state or city regulations can result in a fine up to $500.

Stay Safe This July 4th

Even if you are well within the state and local laws, make sure you still use the proper precautions when it comes to fireworks this holiday weekend.

While the colorful explosions can be dazzling, they can also be extremely dangerous. It's important to use them safely to ensure they are not harmful and can be enjoyed by all.

The American Pyrotechnics Association wants to remind people there is a high risk of injury if fireworks are used improperly. Here are some tips they've shared for staying safe while watching or handling fireworks:

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry area
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings, houses, and vehicles
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point fireworks at people
  • Fireworks should never be handled by children or adults who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Those not lighting the fireworks should always maintain a safe distance from them.
  • Wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks
  • Always have a water source nearby, such as a bucket of water or a functioning water hose
  • Dispose of used fireworks by soaking them in water and then placing them in a metal trash can away from buildings and flamable materials.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks or alter fireworks bought from a retailer. Only buy fireworks from certified retailers and follow the manufacturer's directions for lighting them.
  • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes before touching the firework, then soak it in a bucket of water and discard.

However you choose to celebrate the holiday -- with or without fireworks -- we hope that you choose to do so safely.

If you're spending the day on the lake or at the pool, make sure to practice water safety. Remember that there also may be more traffic on the streets and more pedestrians on the sidewalks in your town, so be careful and alert behind the wheel.

If you are injured in an accident this weekend, we are here to help. We handle personal injury cases of all kinds, including recreational accidents, car accidents, and pedestrian accidents.

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  • We pay all case costs and expenses
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Lawrence J. Buckfire
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