Waiting on DeWine, Phantom Fireworks talks what signing new bill would mean for Ohio

Local News

(WKBN) – Should commercial firework use be allowed in Ohio? That’s the decision Governor DeWine has to make by July 10.

The governor signed 13 bills Thursday, but not the law changing the way consumer fireworks are handled in Ohio.

“It would change things completely. Every state surrounding Ohio, every single one is a full fireworks state. This is the only one that’s not,” said Bill Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks.

Up until four years ago, you had to sign a waiver agreeing to take the products out of the state of Ohio within 48 hours of purchase. It’s what many call a “Liar’s Law.”

“We’ve created folks who are breaking the laws because we can purchase fireworks in our great state, but we can’t set them off,” said Rep. Brian Baldridge, (R) Winchester.

“So now, it’s very confusing. You don’t have to sign a form saying you’re taking the products out of state within 48 hours, but the law still reads that you have to take the products out of state within 48 hours,” Weimer said.

The law hasn’t stopped people from sending the flares into the sky, but as you’d imagine, not everyone is for this bill.

“The summer of 2020 had the highest 20-year total of fireworks injuries,” said Sherry Williams, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.

Advocates against the bill say fireworks are a danger to those lighting the fuse as well as bystanders, kids, even pets.

“Because they’re sudden. They’re unexpected. There’s a flash, a big boom. They cause sudden and immediate stress,” said Michele Frank, executive director of Pawsible Angels.

But Phantom says, should they become legal, it would be easier to educate about safety.

“We can’t get any fire services to do Public Service Announcements with us because fireworks are illegal in Ohio,” Weimer said.

Should the bill pass, it would put a 4% tax on fireworks. That money would go toward firework safety education.

“Under the new law, which Phantom already does, it’s going to be required that you give out a safety pamphlet, and it’s going to require that you have goggles available,” Weimer said.

Even if DeWine did sign it Thursday, you wouldn’t hear “legal” booms this Fourth of July wekeend.

The bill wouldn’t go into effect until 351 days after its signing, and you wouldn’t be allowed to shoot fireworks just any day of the year. They’d only be allowed on certain holidays and holiday weekends.

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