Ohio fireworks law allows you to buy but not use

July Fourth fireworks
AP Photo/John Minchillo

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) Ohioans are flocking to firework stores to buy sparklers and streamers to celebrate our country’s independence.

It’s legal to buy fireworks in Ohio, but it’s illegal to set off most of them.

The law is confusing.

“You can buy other fireworks within the state those ones you would actually launch off however those are illegal to set off in the state of Ohio,” said Spokesperson for the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office Lindsey Burnworth.

Customers at fireworks shops here actually have to sign this written agreement to take most of the fireworks they buy out of the state within 48 hours.

So what are you allowed to keep IN state? Just remember the 4 s’s

If it Smokes, Sparkles, Snaps or Snakes you are good to go.

They call them novelty and trick items.

If you get caught using any of those bigger ones like bottle rockets or roman candles expect trouble.

“It’s a first degree misdemeanor and that is punishable by up to 1,000 dollar fine and 6 months in jail.”

Ohio cracked down on allowing citizens to put on their own fireworks displays for safety reasons. But instead of shutting down all the businesses that sold them, the state compromised and allowed them to continue to sell as long as customers agreed to take the explosives out of the state.

The law has been enforced by the state fire marshals office for 28 years. They work with local law enforcement to make sure people are following it.

We dug into their numbers and found this:

In 2012, their office investigated only 2 cases of illegal sales or possession of the big fireworks

In 2013, they looked at 5.

The state fire marshal’s office says the law keeps people safe.

“Obviously they are hot so burn risks. They could explode if not used properly there’s injury to any part of your body that’s possible by setting those off incorrectly,” said Burnworth.

If you want to open your own fireworks store in Ohio, you are out of luck. Ohio has placed a ban of granting firework licensing until at least 2015.

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