Ohio bill allowing fireworks on private property criticized

Posted at 10:56 AM, Feb 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 10:56:31-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Opponents of a bill that would repeal the ban on using fireworks on private property are warning the legislation could lead to dangerous consequences.

Current law allows consumers to legally buy fireworks in Ohio, but requires they be taken out of the state within 48 hours of purchase. Critics of the law have noted for years that it's widely ignored.

The bill before the House Commerce and Labor Committee would repeal the transport requirement and allow individuals to buy and use consumer fireworks in Ohio.

One in five of the 10,000 serious consumer fireworks injuries each year are to the eye, Sherill Williams, president and CEO of the Ohio affiliate of Prevent Blindness, testified Wednesday.

"There are many opportunities for Ohioans to enjoy professional fireworks displays in their communities, and we encourage their participation in this safer celebration where explosives are not in the hands of amateurs," Williams said, according to Gongwer News Service.

Other opponents include firefighters, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and veterans concerned about fireworks' impact on vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill would add a fee to fireworks purchases in Ohio, much of which would go to firefighter training programs.