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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2010

Contact: ATF Senior Special Agent Austin R. Banks
(504) 329-1443

ATF Warns Consumers: Illegal Explosives Devices Are Not Fireworks

New Orleans, LA — Special Agent in Charge Phillip M. Durham of the New Orleans Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), ask the public to use caution when celebrating the July 4th holiday with fireworks.

ATF regulates explosives and investigates most explosives crimes and accidents, and want to ensure that all those who are planning on celebrating the Fourth of July holiday do so in a safe environment that is free of illegal fireworks that could severely injure someone, Durham said.

ATF wants to make consumers aware that illegal explosives devices are not fireworks, users risk injury, disfigurement or death by manufacturing or using them. Illegal explosives devices — commonly referred to as M-80s, quarter sticks, or cherry bombs — often come in plain brown or white wrappers, with no identifying marks. Mail-order kits designed to build these devices are also banned. The manufacture and possession of these illegal explosive devices can result in felony and misdemeanor charges.

Buy fireworks from vendors who operate openly and welcome visits by fire departments and police officers, Durham recommended. Don’t buy fireworks from people who approach you, and are operating on the street. Too often, they sell deadly, illegal explosives devices that may explode prematurely in your hand or pocket.

On a personnel level, assume leadership among friends and family, making sure all are observing safety, Durham said. Discourage foolishness and games using fireworks- and never mix alcohol and explosives.

The public is urged to report illegal fireworks sales and use buy calling the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF BOMB (1-888-283-2662). More information on ATF and its programs can be found at