OHIO — Firework shows made a comeback this Fourth of July weekend, a year after many were canceled due to COVID-19.
In Ohio, legislation might soon allow residents to own and set off fireworks in the state legally.
The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 113 in June. The legislation cleared the Ohio General Assembly late last month and the bill is now sitting on Gov. Mike DeWine's desk, awaiting his signature.
If DeWine signs the bill, Ohio would be among the last states in the U.S. to allow some or all types of consumer fireworks. Click here tp see a map of states that allow consumer fireworks by the American Pyrotechnics Association, which works to preserve and promote celebrating with fireworks.
Current Ohio law says residents can legally buy fireworks in the state but they must be taken out of the state within 48 hours of purchase. Fireworks also can't be set off within state lines. This long-standing ban on firing off fireworks has largely been an unenforced law.
Ohioans like Carlos Vazquez said they enjoy backyard firework shows and are eager to celebrate legally.
“A lot of people do it anyway and not even only on the July 4th, like the month before that. That’s when they start. I feel like we should be allowed to throw fireworks especially if we’re doing it safely you know in a controlled environment. I feel like it takes away from our freedom. This is one of the ways we get to celebrate a beautiful time of the year and yeah they should keep on doing this and should make it legal,” said Vazquez, a Phantom Fireworks customer.
Danial Peart, director of government affairs for Phantom Fireworks, said officials have been working for seven years to pass a law in Ohio to bring the state in line with other states across the country.
"Ohio is one of two states in the country right now where no use of consumer fireworks is permitted. Can't even use little brown-based fountains and jumping jacks and things of that nature. Massachusetts is the only other state that can say that. Every state that borders Ohio permits the use of consumer fireworks. So we're behind the times. We finally found some success this year and it's moved very quickly,” Peart said.
DeWine is expected to sign the bill into law which would get rid of the 48-hour rule and would impose a 4% fee on consumer firework purchases.
If the bill is signed, it would take effect next year.