COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio lawmakers are working on allowing Ohioans to ignite commercial-grade fireworks, but the law won’t be ready for this Fourth of July.
Senate Bill 113 passed both the House and Senate and is now awaiting Governor Mike DeWine’s approval. The bill allows Ohioans to set off fireworks on certain holidays, removing a ban that’s been in place for decades.
“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).
The bill would allow fireworks on the following days:
- New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year
- Cinco de Mayo
- Memorial Day weekend
- July 3, 4, and 5, and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following
- Labor Day weekend
- New Year’s Eve
- Any other legal holiday
Some Ohioans have safety concerns and say those who are inexperienced with fireworks could face life-altering or even ending consequences.
“When something becomes legal, people assume that it’s safe and we’ve even heard the fireworks industry say we can’t wait for this bill to pass because we expect our sales to double,” said Sherry Williams, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “So when you do double a dangerous thing, you’re going to have double the injuries.”
Bystanders can also be hurt by fireworks, including children and pets.
“My message would be think twice,” said Michele Frank, executive director of Pawsible Angels. “Think about your neighbors, think about your safety, think about the safety of your kids, think about the safety of your animals.”
Baldridge said one key component of the bill is the state will promote using fireworks safely, something that’s not happening enough now.
“We have the ability within this legislation to promote safety and that’s what we’ve set out as a top priority because we know people are doing it so if we’re going to do it let’s do it as safe as we can,” he said.
The bill will go into effect 351 days after it is signed or becomes law.