Effective July 1, 2011, the Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) was amended to prohibit the sale or use of “sky lanterns” in the state. Specifically: Title 68, Chapter 104, Part 1 (101-116).
Sky lanterns (also called “Chinese lanterns”) are devices that are constructed of paper and a frame with a candle. The candle is lit and the heat causes the lantern to lift into the sky. When the flame from the candle goes out, the lantern falls from the sky. These lanterns cannot be controlled and therefore constituted a hazard to people and property.
The following are excerpts from T.C.A 68-104-101 through 68-104-116 applicable to enforcement:
68-104-101. Chapter definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Distributor” means any person engaged in the business of making sales of fireworks to any other person engaged in the business of reselling fireworks either as a retailer, wholesaler, or seasonal retailer, or any person who receives, brings or imports any fireworks of any kind, in any manner into this state, except to a holder of a Tennessee manufacturer’s, distributor’s, or wholesaler’s permit. Any sale of fireworks to a retailer shall only be accomplished by a manufacturer or distributor possessing the required applicable permit issued by the state of Tennessee. “Distributor” also includes any person engaged in the business of making sales of display fireworks, as defined in § 68-104-202, or proximate pyrotechnics or flame effect materials to licensed exhibitors for the purpose of providing fireworks, pyrotechnic or flame effect display services in this state. A distributor may sell display fireworks, proximate pyrotechnics or flame effect materials only to holders of a Tennessee exhibitor’s permit. An out-of-state distributor shall not be required to obtain a Tennessee permit when selling exclusively to a holder of a Tennessee manufacturer’s, distributor’s, wholesaler’s or exhibitor’s permit;
(2) “D.O.T. Class C common fireworks” means all articles of fireworks as are now or hereafter classified as D.O.T. Class C common fireworks in the regulations of the United States department of transportation for transportation of explosive and other dangerous articles;
(3) “Manufacturer” means any person engaged in the making, manufacture or construction of fireworks of any kind within this state;
(4) “Permit” means the written authority of the state fire marshal issued under the authority of this chapter;
(5) “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership or corporation;
(6) “Retailer” means any person engaged in the business of making retail sales of fireworks at any time during the year;
(7) “Sale” means an exchange of articles of fireworks for money and also includes barter, exchange, gift or offer thereof, and each such transaction made by any person, whether as principal, proprietor, salesperson, agent, association, copartnership, or one (1) or more individuals;
(8) “Seasonal retailer” means any person engaged in the business of making retail sales of fireworks within this state from June 20 through July 5 and December 10 through January 2 of each year;
(9) “Special fireworks” means:(A) All articles of fireworks that are classified as Class B explosives in the regulations of the United States department of transportation;(B) All articles of fireworks other than those classified as Class C; and(C) Unmanned free-floating devices capable of producing an open flame such as, but not limited to, sky lanterns; and
(10) “Wholesaler” means any person engaged in the business of making sales of fireworks to a seasonal retailer. A wholesaler shall not be permitted to make a sale to a retailer.
HISTORY: Acts 1959, ch. 159, § 1; 1970, ch. 481, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., § 53-3001; Acts 1983, ch. 188, § 1; T.C.A., § 68-22-101; Acts 2006, ch. 839, § 3; 2011, ch. 204, § 1.
68-104-108. Permissible fireworks.
It is unlawful for any individual, firm, partnership or corporation to possess, sell or use within this state, or ship into this state, except as provided in this chapter, any pyrotechnics commonly known as fireworks, other than the following permissible items:
(1) Those items classified as D.O.T. Class C common fireworks; or
(2) Those items that comply with the construction, chemical composition and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States consumer product safety commission and permitted for use by the general public under its regulations.
HISTORY: Acts 1959, ch. 159, § 4; T.C.A., § 53-3008; Acts 1983, ch. 188, § 7; T.C.A., § 68-22-108.
68-104-109. Conditions for sale and use of permissible articles.
No permissible articles of common fireworks defined in § 68-104-108 shall be sold, offered for sale, or possessed within this state, or used, in this state, except as provided in § 68-104-211, unless it is properly named to conform to the nomenclature of § 68-104-108, and unless it is certified as common fireworks on all shipping cases and by imprinting on the article or retail container, “D.O.T. Class C common fireworks,” such imprint to be of sufficient size and so positioned as to be readily recognized by law enforcement authorities and the general public.
HISTORY: Acts 1959, ch. 159, § 5; T.C.A., § 53-3009; Acts 1983, ch. 188, § 8; T.C.A., § 68-22-109.
68-104-115. Seizure and destruction of fireworks.
(a) The state fire marshal shall seize as contraband any fireworks, other than Class C common fireworks defined in § 68-104-108, or special fireworks for public displays as provided in § 68-104-211, that are sold, displayed, used or possessed in violation of this chapter. The fire marshal is authorized to destroy fireworks so seized.
(b) Before any seized fireworks may be destroyed:
(1) If the owner of the seized fireworks is known, the state fire marshal shall give notice by registered mail or personal service to the owner of the state fire marshal’s intention to destroy the seized materials. The notice shall inform the owner of the owner’s right to a hearing. The state fire marshal shall conduct an appropriate contested case hearing concerning the destruction of fireworks in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.
(2) If the identity of the owner of any seized fireworks is not known to the state fire marshal, the fire marshal shall cause to be published, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the seizure was made, notice of the seizure, and of the state fire marshal’s intention to destroy the fireworks. The notice shall be published once each week for three (3) consecutive weeks. If no person claims ownership of the fireworks within ten (10) days of the date of the last publication, the state fire marshal may proceed to destroy the fireworks. If the owner does claim the fireworks within the time above specified, a hearing as set out in subdivision (b)(1) shall be held.
HISTORY: Acts 1959, ch. 159, § 11; T.C.A., § 53-3015; Acts 1983, ch. 188, § 13; T.C.A., § 68-22-115.