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Ohio House Approves Bill That Would Legalize Fireworks

Fireworks packages in store
Mike Mozart
Flickr Creative Commons

For decades, customers at fireworks stores in Ohio have had to sign forms promising they will leave the state before setting them off. Now, the Ohio House has passed a bill that would loosen state regulations on fireworks sales.

The bill would allow retail sales of consumer-grade fireworks beginning in 2020. Republican Rep. Bill Seitz says passage of this bill would make Ohio the 45th state to both allow the sale and use, something he suggests is already happening anyway.

“It is legal today to purchase retail fireworks in the state of Ohio but only on condition, wink wink, nod nod, say no more, that you discharge them out of state," Seitz said. "Somehow I’ve got to believe that a lot of people have been holding king’s ex behind their back when they purchase those fireworks.”

Current law allows Ohio residents to purchase fireworks in the state, but they are required to take them out of the state within 48 hours.

HB 226, which passed the House by a 77-1 margin, permits residents to shoot off fireworks any day of the week but prohibits people from setting them off while using drugs or drinking. Fireworks sellers would be required to distribute safety information.

Seitz says local officials can choose to restrict or ban fireworks "if they want to be un-American about it."

The bill now must be approved by the Senate before it can be signed by Gov. John Kasich.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.