Ohio Bill Could Legalize Some Fireworks By 2020

Jul 3, 2017

A bill in the Statehouse would make some home fireworks legal by the year 2020, a move being applauded by at least one local manufacturer.

It’s the busy season at American Fireworks these days. The company is putting together about 200 Fourth of July displays throughout the Midwest while simultaneously operating a retail store at its headquarters in Hudson.

Under current state law, consumer fireworks must be taken out-of-state within 48 hours of purchase. But the bill introduced this spring in the Statehouse would change that. John Sorgi is the seventh-generation owner of American Fireworks, who looks forward to the bill being considered this fall. He says it’s similar to a law passed in Michigan in 2011.

“They’re putting an additional tax on it. Those taxes go to Fire Departments, safety organizations, those kinds of things. (The year) 2020 is when they’re looking at it, but something could happen quicker. You never know.”

Sorgi adds that home pyrotechnics are safer today due to extra testing and technology.

“Something that came in 20 years ago, you couldn’t really track as a dangerous product. Now, if something’s dangerous, the whole country can know within two days of it happening. Technology’s really brought fireworks into a [safe] environment.”

The bill proposes a 4 percent tax on home fireworks. The Michigan law legalized bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles, which Sorgi says are among the most popular items at his store.

Sorgi says demand at his company’s retail store is high in years when the Fourth of July falls on a Monday or Tuesday -- giving people more time to enjoy fireworks at home. But he says sales are also dependent on weather.