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DeWine vetoes bill allowing Ohioans to light their own fireworks

WEBN fireworks 2018
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 21:39:40-04

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday vetoed a bill that would have allowed Ohioans to light their own fireworks beginning in 2022.

In a statement, DeWine criticized Senate Bill 113 — which permitted Ohioans to shoot off fireworks on select holidays, including the Fourth of July — as unsafe and overly permissive for both firework sellers and purchasers.

"SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws,” he wrote.

Although Kentucky and Indiana each allow private individuals to purchase and set off fireworks, only licensed exhibitors can light anything larger than a snap, sparkler or smoke bomb in Ohio. Fireworks purchased by private individuals in Ohio must be taken out of the state within two days and never set off inside it.

Anyone caught lighting or storing illegal fireworks can be fined and charged with a misdemeanor.

In his veto, DeWine referenced the 1996 fireworks-store explosion that killed nine people and injured 11 more in Scottown, Ohio. The man arrested for starting it threw a lit cigarette on a shelf of fireworks, beginning an explosive chain reaction.

Studies on fireworks-store safety have been performed repeatedly since then, DeWine wrote. He said SB 113 implemented none of these studies’ recommendations but would have doubled the maximum size of fireworks stores allowed in the state.

The governor also criticized the number of holidays that the bill lists as fireworks-permissible occasions, including Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 1, Diwali, the first and last days of each calendar year and the first day of the Chinese New Year.