In October, a new fireworks law replaced the previous one from 1939 and allowed expanded sale of certain kinds of explosives to state residents. Under the new law, sales are taxed at 12 percent per item.
Sales statistics were not immediately available, but stores are already seeing benefits, said William A. Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks. “It can’t possibly do anything but increase the volume of sales,” Weimer said of the new law.
But there are still some significant restrictions on what you can get and where you can — or, rather, can’t — shoot them off.
State law (which you can read here) now permits the sale of what are deemed “consumer fireworks.” These include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material — previously only sold to out-of-state residents. Things like sparklers, caps and other novelties were already available.
“Display fireworks” are not for sale. These are large fireworks generally restricted to professionals or certain uses that require a municipal permit, such as sports ceremonies, quarry blasting, railroad signals and protecting crops from birds. These fireworks are not publicly available.
Federal rules still apply, of course, outlawing explosives that don’t adhere to safety standards. Devices such as M-80s, M-100s, quarter sticks and cherry bombs are considered illegal by most law enforcement agencies and are banned in many states, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Anyone 18 or older can purchase consumer fireworks. You have to be at least 21 for a display fireworks permit. ID is required for purchase
Fireworks can be purchased at any place licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. In addition to brick-and-mortar stores, licenses can also be issued to temporary facilities like tents or parking lot booths — temporary sites can sell fireworks June 15 to July 8 and Dec. 21 to Jan. 2.
You can find licensed sellers in your area with the agriculture department’s map here
Last modified: October 18, 2018