It's time to change the insane , stupid fireworks law in Pennsylvania. Fireworks can be sold in the state but only to out of state residents. Residents of Pennsylvania are restricted to buying ground fountains and sparklers. Apparently, State Legislators think Pa residents are too stupid to have them but the rest of the world can buy them right here. This law does nothing to prevent Pennsylvania residents from lighting off fireworks in their neighborhoods.
Most police departments are swamped with calls for the noise. It's a drain on resources and With the 4th of July fast approaching, it is a safe bet that those that want something to light will get their fix. So, how do they get it? One only has to have a friend or co worker or paid accomplice that can prove they live in another state accompany them to a fireworks store. If the clerk even checks ID, they now have the fireworks. If the clerk does not check the ID, they simply go back themselves and buy stuff at a later date.
Let's assume that this person is a miserable human being and has no friends. No problem. A simple drive to Maryland or South Carolina is all that is needed. In South Carolina, Fireworks stores are plentiful. Maryland is about one hour and South Carolina is about 10 hours. The signs for South Of The Border are plentiful and they start in Virginia. Things are more expensive there, if you really want to see the price difference, go a few miles south and to a place called JABS. It's cheaper.
At times out of state police will set up and watch cars from their states buying fireworks. As the vehicle enters the state, they are arrested. People get around that by driving farther in to the state after their purchase and waiting a bit. They get away with smuggling fireworks. Trunk loads of fireworks are heading north on I-95 from southern states as you are reading this.
So with the options available to people, is it time to make them legal? How many tax dollars are wasted by motorists going out of state ? Anyone that thinks only out of state residents will purchase fireworks are delusional. So should a 12 year old boy be able to buy Roman Candles? Of course not. It's just like cigarettes. The law should restrict sales to those 18 and over. If you are caught giving to selling them to a minor, both get arrested. Just cause they are legal does not mean they should be used anywhere.
Local police should be tasked with insuring that shells and projectiles are not used around peoples homes. They can be confiscated if used in an unsafe way.Those that live in a densely populated city should go else where to light off their stash. Legal ramifications aside, those that want to light fireworks will be doing so. By making it legal, you are insuring that they are lit in a safe manner.
People will be more inclined to take safety precautions such as having a a bucket of water nearby, setting up safe spectator areas, using eye protection. There are folks that insist they are dangerous and the cops should run around slapping cuffs on the 35 year old doctor for his backyard display. Yes, they are dangerous. So are cigarettes. Are they loud? Yes but keeping them illegal is not going to stop them.. If they bother you during July 4th that's a shame. It is also a great idea to keep pets inside where the noise will be dulled.
Of course, people caught doing dangerous things such as throwing firecrackers or shooting rockets at traffic should be arrested just as they will be arrested now. They will face the same charges they will now. Nothing changes. It took a long time before casinos were legalized. Marijuana is on it's way to being legalized in Pa. So a legal adult can smoke a joint ,run to the casino to lose money but has to drive about an hour to buy fireworks. His friend from out of state can come here and do all three once pot is legal! Every time you hear about the school district needing money, just think of all the potential tax money being driven out of state to fund the Maryland , Ohio,or South Carolina economy. Then sit back and listen to all the fireworks in your neighborhood. Do you now see why it makes sense to legalize fireworks?
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