Ohio’s House Bill 172 goes into law July 1 allowing Ohioans to legally discharge consumer-grade fireworks on certain holidays as long as they are not limited by local laws.
During last Thursday’s meeting of the Hillsboro City Council, an ordinance to ban the use of consumer-grade fireworks in the city was moved to a second reading as council member Mary Stanforth voted against passing it as an emergency. As the ordinance will not be able to be passed before the July 4th holiday, the fireworks will be allowed on the holiday in Hillsboro this year.
Local law enforcement officials expressed major concerns with the new law.
“I know that in the past anyone we usually have contact with is usually doing it in a safe manner,” said Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera. “I’ve never come across anybody in my years being in the sheriff’s office as doing it unsafely, and now they just gave some stipulations on the times and dates that they can do it, which helps us out a lot.”
When asked during the most recent Hillsboro City Council meeting about past incidents involving fireworks, Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels said, “We have annoyance calls.” He said the proposed ordinance to ban the fireworks would give the police the ability to shut it down if there are safety concerns, but that the department would not actively seek out violations.
Under the new law, Ohioans can discharge consumer fireworks on the following dates and times:
* July 3, 4 and 5, and the weekends immediately before and after from 4-11 p.m.
* Labor Day weekend from 4-11 p.m.
* Diwali from 4-11 p.m.
* New Year’s Eve from 4-11 p.m.
* New Year’s Day from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m. and 4-11 p.m.
* Chinese New Year from 4-11 p.m.
* Cinco de Mayo from 4-11 p.m.
* Memorial Day weekend from 4-11 p.m.
Juneteenth from 4-11 p.m.
Under previous law, individuals could purchase consumer-grade fireworks in Ohio, but had to transport them out of state within 48 hours.
The fireworks can be discharged on a person’s private property or another person’s property if the owner of that property has given permission for them to be discharged.
Under the new law, there are a number of provisions to ensure Ohioans properly discharge the fireworks including a minimum age of 18 for handling or discharging fireworks.
The law stipulates that only fireworks purchased in Ohio may be discharged in Ohio. Consumers can purchase fireworks from any of the licensed sales locations throughout the state, and the retailer must provide consumers with safety glasses for free or at a nominal charge along with a safety pamphlet.
A professional fireworks display put on by Lewis Financial Group will be set off from the Highland County Fairgrounds Sunday, July 3 at about 10 p.m.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.