H. B. 2620
(By Delegates Collins, Mezzatesta and Willison)
[Introduced February 22, 1995; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to repeal sections twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five,
twenty-six and twenty-seven, article three, chapter
twenty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended; to amend chapter eleven of
said code by adding thereto a new article, designated
article nineteen-a; to amend and reenact section twelve,
article three of said chapter twenty-nine; and to amend said
chapter twenty-nine by adding thereto a new article,
designated article three-c, all relating to the use, sale,
storage, transportation, licensing and taxing of fireworks.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five,
twenty-six and twenty-seven, article three, chapter twenty-nine
of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred
thirty-one, as amended, be repealed; that chapter eleven of said
code be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated
article nineteen-a; that section twelve, article three of said
chapter twenty-nine be amended and reenacted; and that said
chapter twenty-nine be amended by adding thereto a new article,
designated article three-c, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.
ARTICLE 19A. FIREWORKS TAX.
As used in this article:
(a) "Commissioner" means the state tax commissioner, and
where the meaning of the context requires, all deputies and
employees duly authorized by him or her.
(b) "Distributor" means any person who manufactures,
produces or purchases for sale to retail dealers any permissible
(c) "Permissible fireworks" or "fireworks" includes those
fireworks consisting of ICC Class C, "common fireworks" as enumerated in section one, article three-c, chapter twenty-nine
of this code.
(d) "Person" means and includes an individual, firm,
partnership, association or corporation.
(e) "Retail dealer" includes every person other than a
wholesale dealer selling such fireworks.
(f) "Wholesale dealer" includes only those persons who sell
permissible fireworks to retail dealers for the purpose of
§11-19A-2. Excise tax on fireworks; disposition thereof.
An excise tax is hereby levied and imposed on and after the
first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, upon the
sale, use, handling and distribution of all permissible
fireworks. The excise tax imposed shall be two cents on each
whole dollar and one cent on each fraction thereof.
Any distributor, wholesale dealer or retailer or any other
person who is the original consignee of any fireworks as
described herein, or who brings such fireworks into this state,
shall be liable for the excise tax hereby imposed. The excise
tax here imposed shall not be collected more than once in respect to any fireworks sold, used or distributed in this state. All
revenue collected by the commissioner under the provisions of
this article, less the costs of administration as are hereinafter
provided for, shall be paid by him or her into the general
§11-19A-3. Affixing of tax stamps.
The payment of the taxes herein provided shall be evidenced
by the affixing of fireworks tax stamps to the original
containers or packages in which any fireworks are placed,
received, stored or handled. The stamps, of the appropriate
denomination, shall be affixed to each container or package of
fireworks by the person who under the provisions of this article
is first required to pay the tax thereon, within twenty-four
hours after a person has a container or package of fireworks in
his or her possession for the first time. The provisions of this
paragraph shall not apply to fireworks which are transported
through this state and which are not sold, delivered, used or
stored herein, if transported in accordance with the rules as may
be promulgated by the commissioner.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to sell, use, handle or distribute any
fireworks to which the tax stamps required by this section are
not affixed, and any person who violates this provision shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more
than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than
six months, or by both fine and imprisonment.
§11-19A-4. Cancellation and removal of stamps.
Any person subject to the tax imposed by this article who
affixes a fireworks stamp to a container or package shall be
required to immediately cancel the stamp by writing or marking
initials thereon and the date upon which the stamp was affixed.
When any container or package to which a stamp has been affixed
is emptied, the person emptying the same or on whose behalf the
same has been emptied shall be required to immediately remove or
deface the tax stamp thereon.
§11-19A-5. Purchase of tax stamps; discounts and commissions;
refunds and statute of limitations; effective
The commissioner is hereby authorized to promulgate rules
governing the design, purchase, sale and distribution of tax stamps required by this article.
The commissioner shall sell the stamps required by this
article, or may authorize any sheriff, or any bank or trust
company in this state, to sell the stamps as his or her deputy,
and may allow as a commission a fee of one half of one percent of
the face value of all stamps sold by the deputy. In the sale of
the stamps the commissioner shall allow the following discounts:
On a sale of less than twenty-five dollars, no discount; on a
sale of twenty-five dollars or over and less than fifty dollars,
a discount of five percent; and on a sale of fifty dollars or
more, a discount of ten percent.
In the case of stamps, the tax imposed by this article shall
be paid in advance at the time the stamps are purchased. The
discount allowed on the sale of tax stamps, shall be in lieu of
the allowance of any claim for refund by reason of the breakage
or destruction of containers stamped as provided in this article,
the spoilation of the fireworks, or the loss or destruction of
tax stamps: Provided, That when the tax stamps or fireworks upon
which tax has been paid are destroyed by fire, lightning or flood
and when fireworks upon which tax has been paid are exported from this state or are required to be destroyed pursuant to federal or
state order, the taxpayer may file a claim for refund for an
amount equal to the amount of tax actually paid for the stamps.
The commissioner shall cause a refund to be made under this
section only when a claim for refund is filed within one hundred
eighty days from the date the tax stamps were destroyed or the
fireworks upon which tax was paid were destroyed or exported from
this state. Any claim for refund not timely filed shall not be
construed to be or to constitute a moral obligation of this state
for payment. The claim for refund shall also be subject to the
provisions of section fourteen, article ten of this chapter. At
the election of the taxpayer, the amount of any refund may be
established as a credit. The amount refunded or credited under
this section shall not be subject to the interest provisions of
subsection (d), section seventeen, article ten of this chapter.
Effective date. -- The provisions of this section as hereby
amended shall apply to fireworks tax stamps destroyed on or after
the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, and
to fireworks exported or destroyed on or after the first day of
§11-19A-6. Due date of reports; additional reports; extension
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article
shall on or before the fifteenth day of each month make and file
with the commissioner a report of the person's operations for the
preceding month to verify liability for tax under this article.
This report shall be in a form prescribed by the tax
The commissioner may by fifteen days' written notice require
the filing of the additional reports as he or she deems necessary
to verify a person's liability under this article.
Upon written application setting forth good cause, the
commissioner may extend the time for filing the reports or
additional reports on the terms and conditions as he or she may
§11-19A-7. Additional penalty for late filing or payment.
In addition to the additions to tax, penalties and interest
authorized in article ten of this chapter, if any taxpayer fails
to file a return or pay the proper amount of tax within the time
specified herein, the commissioner shall refuse to authorize the
purchase of tax stamps by the delinquent taxpayer: Provided, That if the failure to pay was due to reasonable cause, the
commissioner may waive this penalty. The taxpayer may request a
hearing within sixty days after service of notice of the refusal
of the commissioner to authorize the purchase of the tax stamps.
Upon receipt of a written request for a hearing filed within the
time prescribed the provision for hearing and appeal, sections
nine and ten, article ten of this chapter shall be applicable.
§11-19A-8. Seizure and sale of fireworks by commissioner;
forfeiture; collection of tax.
Whenever the commissioner or any of his or her duly
authorized agents shall discover any fireworks, subject to tax as
provided by this article and upon which the tax has not been paid
as herein required, the commissioner or his or her duly
authorized agent is hereby authorized and empowered forthwith to
seize and take possession of the fireworks, which shall thereupon
be deemed to be forfeited to the state, and the commissioner
shall within a reasonable time thereafter sell the forfeited
fireworks; and from the proceeds of the sale shall collect the
tax and interest due thereon, together with a penalty of fifty
percent of the tax due and the cost incurred in the proceedings, and pay the balance, if any, to the person in whose possession
the fireworks were found: Provided, That the seizure and sale
shall not be deemed to relieve any person from fine or
imprisonment provided herein for violation of any provision of
this article. The sale shall be made in the county where most
convenient and economical. Notice of the sale shall be published
as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the
provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and
the publication area for the publication shall be the county
wherein the seizure was made and the county wherein the sale is
to take place. Notice shall be published at least five days
prior to the sale. All moneys collected under the provisions of
this section shall be paid into the state treasury and treated as
other taxes collected under this article.
§11-19A-9. Altering, counterfeiting or reusing tax stamps;
Any person who falsely or fraudulently makes, forges, alters
or counterfeits any tax stamp prescribed by the commissioner
under the provisions of this article, or who knowingly or
willfully utters, passes or tenders as true any false, altered, forged or counterfeited stamp, or who uses more than once any
stamp for the purpose of evading the tax imposed by this article,
shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall
be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than
one year nor more than five years.
§11-19A-10. Penalties; crimes.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this
article or any lawful rule promulgated by the tax commissioner
for this article under the authority of article ten of this
chapter, for the violation of which no other penalty is provided
by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars
nor more than one hundred dollars.
The provisions of the several sections of this article shall
be deemed to be separable insofar as they or their meaning is not
inseparably connected, and if any provisions of this article are
held unconstitutional, the holding shall not affect any of the
other provisions thereof.
§11-19A-12. General procedure and administration.
Each and every provision of the "West Virginia Tax Procedure and Administration Act" set forth in article ten of this chapter
applies to the tax imposed by this article nineteen-a with like
effect as if said act were applicable only to the tax imposed by
this article nineteen-a and were set forth in extenso in this
CHAPTER 29. MISCELLANEOUS BOARDS AND OFFICERS.
ARTICLE 3. FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT.
§29-3-12. Powers and duties of state fire marshal.
(a) Enforcement of laws. -- The state fire marshal shall
enforce all laws of the state having to do with:
(1) Prevention of fire.
(2) The storage, sale and use of any explosive, combustible
or other dangerous article in solid, flammable liquid or gas
(3) The installation and maintenance of equipment of all
sorts intended to extinguish, detect and control fires.
(4) The means and adequacy of exit, in case of fire, from
buildings and all other places in which persons work, live or
congregate from time to time for any purpose, except buildings
used wholly as dwelling houses for no more than two families.
(5) The suppression of arson.
(b) Assistance upon request. -- Upon request, the state fire
marshal shall immediately assist any chief of any recognized fire
company or department.
(c) Enforcement of regulations. -- The state fire marshal
shall enforce the regulations promulgated by the state fire
commission as authorized by section three of this article.
(d) Inspections generally. -- The state fire marshal shall
inspect all state, county and municipally owned institutions, all
public and private schools, theaters, churches and other places
of public assembly as to fire exits and reasonable safety
standards and report his findings and recommendations to the
proper administrative heads.
(e) Right of entry. -- The state fire marshal may at all
reasonable hours enter any building or premises, other than
dwelling houses, for the purpose of making an inspection, which
he or she may deem necessary to be made under the provisions of
(f) Investigations. -- The state fire marshal may at any
time investigate as to the origin or circumstances of any fire or explosion or attempt to cause fire or explosion occurring in the
state. The state fire marshal shall have the authority at all
times of the day or night, in performance of the duties imposed
by the provisions of this article, to investigate where any fires
or attempt to cause fires shall have occurred, or which at the
time may be burning. Notwithstanding the above provisions of
this subsection, prior to entering any building or premises for
the purposes of
such an investigation, the state fire marshal
shall obtain a proper search warrant: Provided, That the same
shall not be necessary where there is permissive waiver or the
state fire marshal is an invitee of the individual having legal
custody and control of the property, building or premises to be
(g) Testimony. -- The state fire marshal, in making an
inspection or investigation, when in his or her judgment the
proceedings are necessary, may take the statements or testimony
under oath of all persons who may be cognizant of any facts or
have any knowledge about the matter to be examined and inquired
into, and may have the statements or testimony reduced to
writing; and shall transmit a copy of
such the statements or testimony so taken to the prosecuting attorney for the county
wherein the fire or explosion or attempt to cause a fire or
explosion occurred. Notwithstanding the above, no a person shall
not be compelled to testify or give any such statement under this
(h) Arrests; warrants; penalty. -- When in their judgment
such the examination as described in subsection (g) of this
section discloses that the fire or explosion or attempt to cause
a fire or explosion was of incendiary origin, the state fire
marshal, any full-time deputy fire marshal or any full-time
assistant fire marshal are hereby authorized and empowered:
(1) To arrest the supposed incendiary anywhere within the
confines of the state of West Virginia, or have him arrested, for
any violation of the provisions of this article or of the
arson-related offenses of article three, chapter sixty-one of
this code: Provided, That any and all persons so arrested shall
be forthwith brought before the magistrate or circuit court.
(2) To make complaint in writing before any court or officer
having jurisdiction and obtain, serve and execute an arrest
warrant when knowing or having reason to believe that anyone has committed an offense under any provision of this article or of
the arson-related offenses of article three, chapter sixty-one of
this code. Proper return shall be made on all arrest warrants
before the tribunal having jurisdiction over
such the violation.
(3) To make complaint in writing before any court or officer
having jurisdiction and obtain, serve and execute a warrant for
the search of any premises that may possess evidence or unlawful
contraband relating to violations of this article or of the
arson-related offenses of article three, chapter sixty-one of
this code. Proper return shall be made on all search warrants
before the tribunal having jurisdiction over such violation.
(i) Witnesses and oaths. -- The state fire marshal is
empowered and authorized to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces
tecum to compel the attendance of persons before him to testify
in relation to any matter which is, by the provision of this
article, a subject of inquiry and investigation by the state fire
marshal and cause to be produced before him or her any papers as
he or she may require in making
such an examination. The state
fire marshal is hereby authorized to administer oaths and
affirmations to persons appearing as witnesses before him or her. False swearing in any matter or proceeding aforesaid shall be
deemed perjury and shall be punishable as such.
(j) Deputizing members of fire departments in this state. --
The state fire marshal may deputize a member of any fire
department, duly organized and operating in this state, who is
approved by the chief of his or her department and who is
properly qualified, to act as his or her assistant for the
purpose of making inspections with the consent of the property
owner or the person in control of
such the property such and the
investigations as may be directed by the state fire marshal, and
the carrying out of such the orders as may be prescribed by him
or her, to enforce and make effective the provisions of this
article and any and all regulations promulgated by the state fire
commission under authority of this article: Provided, That in
the case of a volunteer fire department, only the chief thereof
or his single designated assistant may be so deputized.
(k) Written report of examinations. -- The state fire
marshal shall, at the request of the county commission of any
county or the municipal authorities of any incorporated
municipality in this state, make to them a written report of the examination made by him or her regarding any fire happening
within their respective jurisdictions.
(l) Report of losses by insurance companies. -- It shall be
the duty of each fire insurance company or association doing
business in this state, within ten days after the adjustment of
any loss sustained by it that exceeds fifteen hundred dollars, to
report to the state fire marshal, upon forms furnished by him or
such any information regarding the amount of insurance, the
value of the property insured and the amount of claim as
adjusted, as in the judgment of the state fire marshal it is
necessary for him or her to know. This report is in addition to
such any information required by the state insurance
commissioner. Upon the request of the owner or insurer of any
property destroyed or injured by fire or explosion, or in which
an attempt to cause a fire or explosion may have occurred, the
state fire marshal shall make a written report to the person
requesting the same of the result of the examination made by him
regarding the property.
(m) Issuance of permits and licenses. -- The state fire
marshal is authorized to issue permits and licenses as required in this article.
(n) Issuance of citations for fire and life safety
violations. -- The state fire marshal, any full-time deputy fire
marshal, any full-time assistant fire marshal are hereby
authorized, and any person deputized pursuant to subsection (j)
of this section who is approved by the chief of his or her
department and who is properly qualified, may be authorized by
the state fire marshal, to issue citations, in their respective
jurisdictions, for fire and life safety violations of the state
fire code and as provided for by the rules and regulations
promulgated by the state fire commission in accordance with
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: Provided,
That a summary report of all citations issued pursuant to this
section by persons deputized under subsection (j) of this section
shall be forwarded semiannually to the state fire marshal in
the form and containing such the information as he or she may by
regulation require, including the violation for which the
citation was issued, the date of issuance, the name of the person
issuing the citation and the person to whom the citation was
issued. The state fire marshal may at any time revoke the authorization of a person deputized pursuant to subsection (j) of
this section to issue citations, if in the opinion of the state
fire marshal, the exercise of such authority by such the person
Violations for which citations may be issued include, but
are not limited to:
(1) Overcrowding places of public assembly;
(2) Locked or blocked exits in public areas;
(3) Failure to abate a fire hazard;
(4) Blocking of fire lanes or fire department connections;
(5) Tampering with, or rendering inoperable except during
necessary maintenance or repairs, on-premise firefighting
equipment, fire detection equipment and fire alarm systems.
No person deputized pursuant to subsection (j) of this
section may be authorized to issue a citation unless that person
has satisfactorily completed a law-enforcement officer training
course designed specifically for fire marshals. The course shall
be approved by the law-enforcement training subcommittee of the
governor's committee on criminal justice and highway safety and the state fire commission. In addition, no person deputized
pursuant to subsection (j) of this section may be authorized to
issue a citation until evidence of liability coverage of
person has been provided, in the case of a paid municipal fire
department by the municipality wherein the fire department is
located, or in the case of a volunteer fire department, by the
county commission of the county wherein the fire department is
located or by the municipality served by such the volunteer fire
department, and that evidence of liability coverage has been
filed with the state fire marshal.
(o) Penalties for violations. -- Any person who violates any
fire and life safety regulation of the state fire code shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned in the
county jail not more than ninety days, or both fined and
Each and every day during which any illegal erection,
construction, reconstruction, alteration, maintenance or use
continues after knowledge or official notice that same is
illegal, shall be deemed as a separate offense.
ARTICLE 3C. FIREWORKS AND EXPLOSIVES.
§29-3C-1. Sale, storage, transportation or use of impermissible
fireworks, permissible fireworks; identification.
(a) It shall be unlawful for persons to possess, sell, offer
for sale, store, transport or use within this state any fireworks
other than the permissible fireworks herein enumerated. The
permissible fireworks consist of ICC Class C, "Common Fireworks"
only, and mean the articles of fireworks as are enumerated as ICC
Class C, "Common Fireworks" in the regulations of the interstate
commerce commission for the transportation of explosives and
other dangerous articles, and include the following:
(1) Roman candles whose total pyrotechnic composition does
not exceed twenty grams each in weight;
(2) Bottle type rockets whose total pyrotechnic composition
does not exceed twenty grams each in weight;
(3) Cylindrical foundations whose total pyrotechnic
composition does not exceed seventy-five grams each in weight and
whose inside diameter does not exceed three-fourths inch;
(4) Cone fountains whose total pyrotechnic composition does
not exceed fifty grams each in weight;
(5) Wheels whose total pyrotechnic composition does not exceed sixty grams in weight, for each driver unit, but there may
be any number of drivers on any one wheel and the inside bore of
driver tubes may not be over one-half inch;
(6) Illumination torches and colored fire in any form whose
total pyrotechnic composition does not exceed one hundred grams
each in weight;
(7) Sparklers whose total pyrotechnic composition does not
exceed one hundred grams each in weight;
(8) Firecrackers and salutes with casings, the external
dimensions of which do not exceed one and one-half inches in
length and one-quarter inch in diameter, and other items designed
to produce an audible effect, total pyrotechnic composition not
to exceed two grains each in weight; and
(9) Items composed of a combination of two or more articles
or devices of the above enumerated approved items.
A component of any device listed in this section which is
designed to produce an audible effect may not contain pyrotechnic
composition in excess of two grains in weight excluding
propelling or expelling charges. Pyrotechnic composition
containing any chlorate or perchlorate may not exceed five grams. All other fireworks not enumerated in this section are declared
contraband, except as herein provided.
(b) No permissible articles of common fireworks enumerated
may be sold, offered for sale, possessed, stored or used in the
state unless they shall be properly named to conform with this
section and unless they are certified as "Common Fireworks" on
all shipping cases and by printing on the article to be of
sufficient size and so positioned as to be readily recognized by
law-enforcement authorities and the general public.
(c) The term "fireworks" does not include toy paper pistol
caps which contain less than twenty-five hundredths of a grain of
explosive compounds, toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other
devices using paper caps and the sale and use of these items is
permitted at all times.
§29-3C-2. Exceptions to application of article.
Nothing in this article applies:
(a) To the shipping, sale, possession and use of fireworks
for public displays, and the items of fireworks which are to be
used for public display only and which are otherwise prohibited
for sale and use within the state include display shells designed to be fired from mortars and display set pieces of fireworks
classified by the regulations of the interstate commerce
commission as "Class B Special Fireworks," and do not include
items of commercial fireworks as cherry bombs, tubular salutes,
repeating bombs, aerial bombs and torpedoes;
(b) To the manufacture, storage, sale or use of signals
necessary for the safe operation of railroads or other public or
(c) To illuminating devices for photographic use;
(d) To the military or naval forces of the state or United
(e) To peace officers; and
(f) To the sale or use of blank cartridges for ceremonial,
theatrical or athletic events.
§29-3C-3. Exception of storage and sale of agricultural and
display fireworks by licensed distributor.
Nothing in this chapter prohibits a licensed wholesale
distributor from storing for sale where legal all Class "B"
fireworks used for display or agricultural purposes after first
obtaining a license therefor from the state fire commission. The cost of the license is seven hundred fifty dollars.
Agricultural and display fireworks must be stored in an
appropriate building and a record of purchases and sales must be
kept for inspection by the state fire commission.
§29-3C-4. Permits and other requirements for firework display;
penalty for violation.
The state fire marshal may adopt reasonable rules for the
granting of permits for the supervised displays of fireworks by
municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks, and other
organizations or groups of individuals. The state fire marshal
may charge a fee of ten dollars to each applicant requesting a
license to be a pyrotechnic operator as set forth in this
article. The state fire marshal shall charge a scaled fee for
all applications requesting permits to establish a pyrotechnics
display as provided in this section. All fees required to be
paid by the provisions of this section shall be paid to the state
fire marshal and thereafter deposited by him or her into a
special account for other operation of the state fire commission.
Permits may be granted upon application to said state fire
marshal and after approval of the local police and fire authorities of the community wherein the display is proposed to
be held as provided herein and the filing of a bond by the
applicant as provided hereinafter. Every display shall be
handled by a competent operator licensed or certified as to
competency by the state fire marshal and shall be of the
composition, character, and so located, discharged or fired as in
the opinion of the chief of the fire department, after proper
inspection, and of the chief of police as to not be hazardous to
property or endanger any person or persons. A permit granted
hereunder is not transferable.
The governing body or chief executive authority of the
municipality shall require a bond from the licensee in a sum not
less than one thousand dollars conditioned on compliance with the
provisions of this article and the rules of the state fire
commission: Provided, That a municipality is not required to
file a bond.
Before any permit for a pyrotechnic display may be issued,
the person, firm or corporation making application therefor shall
furnish proof of financial responsibility to satisfy claims for
damages to property or personal injuries arising out of any act or omission on the part of the person, firm or corporation or any
agent or employee thereof, in the amount, character and form as
the state fire marshal determines to be necessary for the
protection of the public.
§29-3C-5. Wholesale distributor's and jobber's licenses;
retailer's license or permit.
(a) Each wholesale distributor of fireworks in this state is
required to purchase an annual license from the state fire
commission at a cost of one thousand dollars which is subject to
regulations of the state fire marshal's office governing storage
of fireworks. A "wholesale distributor" is defined as a person
or firm selling fireworks to licensed jobbers or licensed
(b) Each jobber selling fireworks in this state is required
to purchase an annual license from the state fire commission at
a cost of four hundred dollars which is subject to regulations of
the state fire marshal's office governing storage of fireworks.
A "jobber" is defined as a person or firm selling fireworks to
(c) Each retailer is required to procure an annual license or permit at a cost of fifty dollars which authorizes the
licensee to sell permissible fireworks. The license or permit
must be obtained from the municipal clerk, or comparable
municipal official, for retail sales within a municipality, after
approval of the applicant and his or her place of business by the
municipal fire chief serving such municipality; or, from the
county clerk for retail sales in the county outside a
municipality after approval of the applicant and his place of
business by the county sheriff. A permit may not be issued to an
applicant until the premises where the fireworks are to be kept
for the purpose of sale have been inspected and it is determined
that the building and the facilities within the building meet
safety standards for the storage and sale of permissible
fireworks. The issuance of the permit is subject to rules
promulgated by the state fire commission governing the storage,
safekeeping and sale of fireworks. A person or firm may not be
issued a retail license who does not already possess a business
registration certificate issued by the state tax commissioner and
who has not held the certificate for at least sixty days.
Permits issued to retailers must be prominently displayed. A permit provided for herein may not be transferred nor shall a
person be permitted to operate under a permit issued to any other
(d) The respective licenses and permits must be issued on
the form or forms as the state fire commission may determine.
All funds derived from the sale of permits as prescribed in
subsection (c) of this section must be retained by the county or
municipality collecting the funds.
§29-3C-6. Sales to and purchases from unlicensed persons
prohibited; records shall be kept open.
A wholesaler is not allowed to sell fireworks to any
nonlicensed jobber or retailer, and the records of all retailers,
licensed jobbers, and wholesalers must be open for inspection by
authorized officials to check sales or purchases. Retailers may
purchase fireworks only from a manufacturer, jobber or wholesaler
licensed to do business in this state. Licensed jobbers may
purchase fireworks only from a manufacturer or wholesaler
licensed to do business in this state.
§29-3C-7. Manner in which fireworks shall be stored by
wholesalers; retailers; proximity to flammable
(a) Fireworks to be sold at wholesale shall be stored in a
room set aside for the storage of fireworks only. Over the
entrance to this room shall be posted a sign reading,
"FIREWORKS--NO SMOKING--KEEP OPEN FLAMES AWAY."
(b) All retailers shall store permissible fireworks in the
original unbroken containers in which such fireworks were shipped
and received. Any fireworks that are displayed or offered in
bulk outside the original containers shall be displayed in
accordance with rules promulgated and adopted by the state fire
marshal. Fireworks may not be displayed in windows or where the
sun may shine through glass onto the fireworks. At all places
where fireworks are stored or sold, the area used by the patrons
shall be unobstructed, with clear access to an outside door. The
areas where fireworks are stored must have posted signs
containing the words "Fireworks for Sale--No Smoking Allowed" in
letters not less than four inches high. A person under the age
of eighteen years may not be employed as a salesman or handler of
(c) Fireworks may not be sold or kept for sale in a place of
business where paint, oils, varnishes, turpentine or gasoline or other flammable substances are kept in unbroken containers,
unless in a separate and distinct section or department of the
§29-3C-8. Sale of fireworks to minors and discharge of fireworks
in certain circumstances unlawful.
It is unlawful:
(a) To offer for sale or to sell permissible fireworks to
children under the age of fourteen years unless accompanied by a
(b) To explode or ignite fireworks within six hundred feet
of any church, hospital, asylum or public school;
(c) To explode or ignite fireworks within seventy-five feet
of where fireworks are stored, sold or offered for sale;
(d) To ignite or discharge any permissible fireworks within
or throw the same from any motor vehicle; and
(e) To place or throw any ignited fireworks into or at any
§29-3C-9. Manufacture, storage, transportation or possession of
certain fireworks illegal; storage and assembly of
public display material; penalty.
It is unlawful to manufacture, store, transport or possess fireworks containing pyrotechnic composition in excess of two
grains designed to produce a loud and piercing effect, including,
but not limited to, fireworks commonly called "ground salutes"
or "cherry bombs," M-80's, T-N-T salutes or "bulldog salutes."
A manufacturer shall obtain a permit to store or assemble
material for public fireworks displays. A manufacturer may not
store public display material in the same building where legal
fireworks are offered for sale to retailers.
The provisions of this article may not be construed as
prohibiting continuous interstate commerce through this state
into another state of any item of fireworks permitted for
shipment by regulations of the interstate commerce commission or
the United States department of transportation, or their
successors. It is unlawful to ship into or through this state or
possess, sell or use under any circumstances, any article of
fireworks that is forbidden for transportation by regulations of
the interstate commerce commission or the United States
department of transportation or their successors. Any person who
violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony,
and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned in the state penitentiary for not more than
four years, or both fined and imprisoned.
§29-3C-10. Issuance of rules concerning permissible fireworks.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the state fire
marshal shall issue rules regarding the storage, transportation,
sale and use of permissible fireworks within this state. The
rules may prescribe, but shall not be limited to, quantity of
fireworks that may be kept, the manner of transporting fireworks
within the state, the type of buildings or structures where the
fireworks may be kept, sold or used, the manner of storage of
fireworks within the buildings or structures and the other
matters that may be necessary to protect lives and property.
Violations of the rules when duly promulgated shall be punished
as provided in section eleven of this article.
Any person violating any provisions of this article or rules
promulgated by the state fire marshal or the state fire
commission, unless otherwise specifically provided in this
article, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall
(a) For a first offense, by a fine of not more than two
hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days;
(b) For a second offense, by a fine of not less than five
hundred dollars nor more than twenty-five hundred dollars or
imprisonment for not less than sixty days, or both;
(c) For a third offense, by a fine of not less than one
thousand dollars or imprisonment for not less than ninety days
nor more than one year, or both.
In addition to the above penalties, the license of any
wholesaler, jobber or retailer shall be permanently revoked upon
conviction for a third offense.
§29-3C-12. Use of permissible fireworks only on designated days.
Permissible fireworks as designated in section one of this
article may be used by the general public only on the following
holidays or on days on which these holidays are officially
recognized: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, week of Fourth of
July, Labor Day and on any other dates designated by the state
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow for the sale, transportation, storage, licensing and use of permissible
fireworks in West Virginia; authority to issue permits and
licenses is vested with the state fire commission. The bill also
authorizes an excise tax placed upon the sale and distribution of
fireworks; affixing of stamps; penalties and disbursement of tax
proceeds to go to the general revenue fund.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.
Article nineteen-a, chapter eleven and article three-c,
chapter twenty-nine are new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.