Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of the Township of Millcreek, D-3rd Dist., one of the bill`s co-sponsors, said the bill had not yet been introduced in the current Legislature and did not know if that would be the case given the “significant problems we had during COVID” with fireworks and the introduction of other bills, House Bill 988. This is to repeal amendments to the Fireworks Act, 2017. The problem with the new law, according to local law enforcement and others, is that it has armed people with larger, more powerful fireworks that turn on a number of users more frequently and hourly. Fireworks are also being shot down in areas where they shouldn`t be, and a number of fires and injuries have resulted. Possession of illegal fireworks is a Class B offence, which means you can spend up to a year in jail. According to Raphaelson and Levine Law Firm, New York City has extremely strict laws against the use of fireworks. It is illegal to use, buy, sell or transport fireworks for consumers in New York City. And as for the illegals: fireworks, bottle rockets, Roman candles, spinners and fireworks from the air. Rep. Pat Harkins of Erie, D-1st Dist., said he received a number of complaints about fireworks from his constituents in the summer of 2020 when he said a lot of money was spent by people on fireworks. There`s really no place in the city of Erie where fireworks can be lit, according to Erie Chief Fire Inspector Darren Hart.
State law prohibits firing fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure and public or private property without the owner`s permission. Fireworks may also not be fired in a building or motor vehicle or in the direction of a building or motor vehicle. An Erie City Ordinance further prohibits the firing of fireworks on city property and in city parks, Hart said. Erie police and firefighters responded to numerous complaints about fireworks in the spring and summer of 2020. Some fireworks caused fires, including one incident in which a garage with four stables on West 27th Street was damaged, and another in which fireworks burned a hole in the roof of a commercial building on Cranberry Street, Hart said. What types of fireworks are legal here in upstate New York for 2022 and considered illegal? “The state changed us very quietly and unconsciously until a few months ago, changed the law and made it so that sparks could be legally sold and bought, and made sure that counties had to explicitly ban them,” said Joseph Lorigo, minority leader of the Erie County Legislature. One bill introduced to address the problem, House Bill 1687 of 2019, aimed to amend the new fireworks law, including setting hours for fireworks use and increasing penalties for the sale or use of fireworks in violation of the rules. The fourth of July is only a weekend away and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn warns against using illegal fireworks. Bernard said he understands that there are people who will say that controlling the use of fireworks is another thing the government is telling people. “Show fireworks”, which are classified as salutes containing more than two grains or 130 milligrams of explosive material, and professional compressed air grenades containing more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, can only continue to be used by professionals holding a permit from the municipality in which the exhibition will take place.
Fireworks-related complaints investigated by Erie police last summer included an incident in which urban garbage workers fled an Eastern neighborhood after their garbage truck was hit by fireworks, and another in which a man was injured when fireworks were fired at him while he was sitting on the street. “It goes beyond a creeping group of people complaining about fireworks. The implications are deeper than I realized when I started getting involved,” he said. We`ve received calls and emails from viewers who wanted to know why this is the case, even though these articles have been illegal in New York for years. “Until the legislator adjusts some of the rules, it will be a difficult situation,” Spizarny said. “If the officer doesn`t actually see a person lighting fireworks, we can`t charge them. We can warn them. Rules and regulations vary from state to state and even from county to county.
In Erie County, you are only allowed to grind fireworks such as fountains or sparks. “I hear not only the people who vote for me, but throughout the county,” he said. He attributes the problem in part to a change in Pennsylvania law that allowed residents over the age of 18 starting in late 2017 to purchase and use consumer-grade fireworks containing up to 50 milligrams of explosive materials, such as fireworks, Roman candles and bottle rockets.