DeWine opposes legalizing consumer fireworks in Ohio

Gov. Mike DeWine, a long-time advocate for children’s safety, threw cold water on the idea that Ohio should legalize consumer use of fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles.

Two weeks ago, the Ohio House voted 77-17 in favor of a bill that would allow the discharge of consumer grade fireworks anytime, any day on private property, as long as local jurisdictions didn’t restrict it.

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Based on the sounds heard across Ohio on 4th of July, many people have been breaking the long-standing law that prohibits possession and ignition of consumer grade fireworks. Some say it’s time to get rid of the law that is largely ignored.

“Look, I understand the concern people have today that our law is not enforced but I think also that I’m going to side with the children’s hospitals folks and the safety folks who can pretty much guarantee us that we’re going to have more people going into the emergency rooms and we’re going to see more kids go into emergency rooms if this passes,” DeWine said Tuesday. “So I am not in favor of this bill. And that shouldn’t shock anybody who knows me well.”

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Currently, Ohioans may purchase consumer grade fireworks but they aren’t allowed to possess or use them in Ohio.

Dan Peart, legislative director of Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks Companies, said his company will continue to try to engage with DeWine and present data that show fireworks imports to the U.S. have more than doubled since 1994 but the injury rates have declined.

“In what area of Ohio does it sound like fireworks are illegal?” Peart added.

The Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition says there is no safe way to use fireworks and often it’s innocent bystanders, including children, who suffer injuries from amateur pyrotechnics.

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