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Illegal Fireworks

Why on earth are fireworks illegal (in PA, anyway - I think even sparklers may be illegal)?

Cigarettes are legal, so I don't buy the safety issue at all. Perhaps the government should make fireworks legal, and tax the heck out of them like they do for cigarettes.

9 Responses to "Illegal Fireworks"

  1. This leads to the question of why the police never bust down the Phantom stands and innumerable firework sale stands in gas stations.

    1. Elmak said on July 6, 2009:

      This leads to the question of why the police never bust down the Phantom stands and innumerable firework sale stands in gas stations.

      I think the sale of them is legal. It's the use that's technically illegal.

    2. Erik J. Barzeski said on July 6, 2009:

      Elmak said on July 6, 2009:

      This leads to the question of why the police never bust down the Phantom stands and innumerable firework sale stands in gas stations.

      I think the sale of them is legal. It's the use that's technically illegal.

      That's immensely backwards.

    3. Elmak said on July 6, 2009:

      That's immensely backwards.

      Not really. If they're legal to use in New York or Ohio (we're very close to both where I live), why shouldn't PA businesses be allowed to sell them?

      It's illegal to smoke cigarettes in certain places, but you can still buy them at all the normal stores.

  2. Erik J. Barzeski said on July 6, 2009:

    Not really. If they're legal to use in New York or Ohio (we're very close to both where I live), why shouldn't PA businesses be allowed to sell them?

    It's illegal to smoke cigarettes in certain places, but you can still buy them at all the normal stores.

    I hadn't really thought of proximity to states with legal usage. I did a bit of research into firework legality in PA. Looks like in 2004 the laws changed around a good bit, and that's around when you started seeing fireworks pop up for sale in gas stations and the ilk.

    Previous to the changes in 2004, the sale of fireworks were only legal in PA to those NOT a resident of PA. Now all Class C fireworks are legal in PA, though some require a permit:

    Bottle Rockets: With Permit Only
    Sky Rockets: With Permit Only
    Roman Candles: With Permit Only
    Firecrackers: With Permit Only
    Sparklers: Legally Allowed
    Smoke and Punk: Legally Allowed
    Fountains: Legally Allowed
    Missiles: With Permit Only
    Novelties: Legally Allowed
    Crackle and Strobe: Legally Allowed
    Parachutes: With Permit Only
    Wheels and Spinners: Legally Allowed
    Sky Flyers: With Permit Only
    Display Shells: With Permit Only
    Aerial Items (Cakes): With Permit Only

  3. Pretty sure that most small fireworks are legal in PA (small meaning not large rockets, explosives, etc.). From my understanding in NY you can't buy them, you also cant set them off but I'd have to check with my uncle (lt. in Syracuse police dept) for sure.

    In some states it even varies based upon the town and county. The Outerbanks in NC are a clusterf*** of laws for fireworks. Some areas you can buy them, not use them. Others you cant buy or use. Crazy silly. Not that it stopped anyone down there over the 4th

  4. I don't know, but after spending my first Independence Day in the 'burbs outside Nashville (where fireworks *aren't* illegal) I'm seriously missing PA. Days-and-days of fireworks till all hours of the night... and a completely neurotic dog. I was ready to choke my $@$#@ neighbors.

  5. Because you get jerks like the guy down the street who loves to try to trump the city fireworks show with his own. Regardless of whether there's a draught and people's trees and lawns are completely devoid of water. Regardless of whether the things land on people's roofs, cars. Regardless of whether they're so loud that they're busting windows. And go through the neighborhood and pick them up the next day off everyone's lawns? nah.

    If people could use common sense I would love to see them be legal. But they don't all seem to be able to do this.

  6. lottadot said on July 14, 2009:

    If people could use common sense I would love to see them be legal. But they don't all seem to be able to do this.

    This makes about as much sense as complaining about the way people parent their children or the way people drive. Just because they are idiots, doesn't make grounds to be illegal. Besides, if we created laws based on this, everyone would be guilty. Fireworks should be legal and I have the answer for this.
    You must pay for a permit to fish, hunt, and do just about every other fun activity in PA. Why not simply have a permit purchased to allow people to light them off? I know you can get a permit for free in some areas, but it takes forever in some cases and in others, you can't get one even if your bed-buddies with the Town Supervisor. That way, if there is a disturbance or if they are used in a manner which could cause harm or personal property damage, then apply the law to this.
    My neighbor's trees drop thousands of leaves in my yard, should I call the cops? No, I deal with it and move on in life. It's really not that big of a deal; and if you ask a majority of people about how they feel about fireworks, you'll get a 99% vote on-or-around the "I love them" scale. Think I'm wrong? Ask around and see.
    I've heard the argument "Fireworks cause fires". 70% of the fires in the US are caused by forgetful people doing things like leaving the heater on, candles being left lit, cigarettes thrown out the window and my favorite...campfires. None of these are illegal, nor do they have laws against them. I've also heard "They're too noisy"; I live by the airport and if we had a sound ordinance, each plane would be cited. My neighbor has a Harley and I love it. Sure, it's loud, but I'm not going to call the cops about it. The kids in the neighborhood have their bass turned up; doesn't bother me and I'm not concerned about calling the police. But if you have fireworks, Wow, out come the neighborhood mini-cops on their phones to ruin all the fun. And believe it or not, although the township fireworks are booming overhead on July 4th, they'll call the police and complain about our neighbors lighting them off. Geez, get a life people!
    So, the state of PA (or elsewhere) can make some money by issuing permits for consumer fireworks; something in the range of $30/year and if someone breaks the local law (or ordinance) for sound, disturbing the peace, property damage (not the complaint: "There's a little piece of cardboard in my yard"), etc. then give them a citation. Problem solved. At least that way, I can stop listening to people who love to fall back on the saying "Because they are illegal, that's why"; then I'll pull out my permit and say "Sorry bud, I have a permit".


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