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July 4 Passes With No Movement On Bill To Legalize Fireworks In Ohio

Always Shooting

Before this Independence Day, many fireworks retailers in Ohio abandoned the form that buyers were been required to sign, saying they’d take their purchases out of state to set them off.

But the sponsor of a bipartisan fireworks bill hopes for a lot of changes by next year.

The bill, HB 226, would allow common consumer fireworks bought at specialty stores to be used in Ohio, beginning in 2020. The sponsors say that's happening anyway, even with what was called the "liar’s law" form.

Ohio law currently allows Ohio residents to purchase fireworks within the state, but they're required to take them out of the state within 48 hours.

But state Rep. Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland) said potentially a bigger change is that local communities would be allowed to set their own rules.

“Right now, the law makes no sense and there’s chaos throughout the entire state in regards to the deployment of fireworks,” Sweeney said.

The bill allows residents to shoot off fireworks any day of the work, but prohibits settingthem off while using drugs or drinking. Sellers would be required to distribute safety information.

Fire officials say that would create a patchwork of regulations – and a coalition of medical groups is opposed to the bill as well. The bill is supported by the fireworks industry, and includes a two-year moratorium on new fireworks wholesalers and retailers.

HB 226 passed the Ohio House by a big margin in October, and Sweeney hopes it’ll be voted on by the Senate after the election.