Bill legalizing Ohio firework usage passes in state Senate

Crooked River Chronicle
Crooked River Chronicle
(Lim Yik Fei/Getty Images)

By Collin Cunningham

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) There may be a lot more sparks in the air in Ohio this Fourth of July after the state's Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 113, which would loosen Ohio's restrictions on fireworks during certain recognized holidays, on Wednesday.

"Patriotic Americans have been, albeit illegally, shooting off fireworks in this state for as long as I can remember, without the safety measures included in this legislation," Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, said in a press release. "With proper parameters and safety precautions, Ohioans will soon be able to celebrate our holidays safely, while enjoying this time-honored tradition."

Now, those patriots will be able to shoot off their own consumer-grade fireworks, so long as it's one of the following holidays:

  • New Year's Eve/Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • Juneteenth
  • July 3,4,5 and the previous and following weekends
  • Labor Day Weekend
  • Diwali

The bill's text defines "fireworks" as "any composition or device prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, deflagration, or detonation."

Previously, people caught discharging fireworks in Ohio for a first offense would be hit with a first-degree misdemeanor carrying up to $1,000 in fines and six months of jail time, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce. Those penalties could still be incurred if Ohioans were to launch the colorful explosives on days not listed above, but that's only if the bill passes.

Additionally, according to 19 News, the bill would also allow local community officials to set certain days when fireworks would be banned.

Per WKBN, Rulli said he hopes the bill will reach Gov. Mike DeWine's office by July 3 in time for the national holiday, but it first must pass through the Ohio House for review.

The bill's other sponsor, Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), told 3 News the following after the bill passed:

I was delighted today with the bipartisan vote that Senate Bill 113 received in the Ohio Senate. For too long Ohioans have been saddled with a consumer-grade fireworks law that was largely ignored and was all but unenforceable. My bill, if enacted into law, will once again allow Ohio citizens to legally celebrate a number of major holidays—and most especially our American Independence Day—by setting off fireworks.

Despite the fact that fireworks are currently illegal to discharge in Ohio, the state is home to dozens of stores where residents can purchase the tubes of gunpowder to bring to territories where they are legal.

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