Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom Boom Boom

Many people are hearing more of the ‘pop’, ‘bang’ and ‘boom’ of fireworks lately. It is fireworks time again, as we are just days away from the 4th of July.  This year, the amount of personal fireworks, and corresponding complaints about fireworks, have increased dramatically. Experts believe that the increase in fireworks may be attributable to the fact that many professional fireworks displays have been cancelled due to the global pandemic, and people have more time to put on their own fireworks displays.

Fireworks have always been a great way to celebrate our country’s birthday. Beginning in 2018 the arsenal of legal fireworks in Pennsylvania has been expanded to include Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain up to 50 milligrams of explosive material.

The law, titled House Bill 542, passed on Oct. 30, 2017. The law permits Pennsylvania residents to buy and use the same high-octane fireworks that could only previously be purchased out-of-state. Under the prior law, the Fireworks Act of 1939, Pennsylvania residents had to apply for a permit from his or her municipality to purchase and use these types of fireworks.

However, the purchase of these fireworks is costly. In addition to the state’s 6 percent sales tax, consumers will pay an additional 12 percent fireworks tax. The money will be put to good use, however, as the proceeds will be ticketed for a fund to benefit firefighters and other first responders. According to the Associated Press, analysts in the state House project that the new law will generate more than $9 million a year in tax revenue.

On this 4th of July, please exercise extreme caution if you plan on using fireworks, and enjoy the holiday responsibly. For additional information and safety on fireworks you can visit the National Safety Council’s website.

Scott Bonebrake is a general practitioner in Media, PA, and has been a licensed attorney for 25 years. Please feel free to contact Scott with any legal questions or concerns at 610-892-7700, or at sbonebrake@noelandbonebrake.com.