Light a Fuse, Go to Jail

Newschannel 6 is digging deeper to find out why Clay County Commissioners did not ban the sale of fireworks especially when only one store is open for business.

Newschannel 6 is taking a look at the concerns from theClay County Sheriff's Office.  Sheriff Kenny Lemons is ready to take violators to jail.  But are his efforts going to be that much more difficult with a fireworks stand open to the public just a few miles away from resident's doorsteps?

Beth Tarter says not allowing her to sell fireworks is the same as punishing liquor store owners because people drink and drive.  Owner Beth Tarter says, "I don't think that store owners should stop selling alcohol because people abuse it and are irresponsible."

Tarter says she is encouraging her regular customers to be responsible and if they are not, Sheriff Kenny Lemons and his deputies are ready to haul them to jail.

Sheriff Lemons says, "If your intentions are to shoot fireworks off in violation of that declaration, you will see the judge in the morning."

Sheriff Lemons says violators will be arrested and nothing will be tolerated.  The Sheriff also commented, "what this attempt is, is to certainly discourage anybody that thinks they are going to come and shoot their fireworks off and get a ticket, cause that's not going to happen."

The Sheriff says he will have extra men on duty working ten hour shifts to protect the county all weekend.  But even with county leaders stepping up, will the sale of firework vendors in the area infringe on law enforcement's purpose?

The owner of Big State Fireworks says she is just simply following the law that says she can keep her doors open.

Beth Tarter say as a vender, her right is to have her livelihood not taken away because there are people that are irresponsible.

Sheriff Lemons says the livelihood of Clay County residents is exactly what he is trying to protect.

Newschannel 6 reached out to Clay County Commissioner Lindy Choate who voted to keep fire work vendors open.  He believes that forcing vendors to shut their doors is imposing on their rights as business owners.

Commissioner Choate says citizens who are going to buy fireworks with the ban in place, are still going to buy them whether it be in Clay County or another.

Clay County city officials say illegally shooting fireworks is a Class 'C' violation, but instead of giving the usual ten days to appear in court, violators will see the judge the very next morning.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6