Some fireworks could soon be legal if the Governor signs a bill recently passed by the State Senate and Assembly.
It likely won't happen in time for this Fourth of July, but if Governor Andrew Cuomo gives it the green light, it could set off sparks across the state.
The law would legalize the sale of hand-held sparkles, ground sparkler displays and other so-called novelty items. Explosive devices, including firecrackers and Roman candles, would still be banned. The proposed law would not apply to New York City, where all fireworks would remain illegal.
Currently, New York is one of only four states that ban all forms of fireworks. The other states include Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware.
"We limit it to people over the age of 18 and we legalize something that can generate a little bit of business," state Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, (D, New City) told CNY Central by phone. He co-sponsored the bill.
Zebrowski says people are crossing into other states to buy fireworks or buying them in underground markets. By making them legal, he estimates it will bring in about $50 million in annual sales and $2 million in state sales tax.
"Only adults would be able to access these materials," he said. "They should strictly monitor their children if they're going to use these. Children have been using sparkles for as long as I can remember."
Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, (D, Rochester) sponsored the bill.
But safety advocates are concerned legalizing some fireworks is putting profit ahead of safety.
Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries.
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) supports a ban on all sales of consumer fireworks. "The AAP continues to urge families NOT to buy fireworks for their own or their children's use," their website states. "Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks -- devastating burns, other injuries, fires and even death."
The AAP is part of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, a group of health and safety organizations that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and to only enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.
Click here to watch a video from the AAP about the dangers of fireworks.
Three people were killed and about 8,600 others were hurt in fireworks-related incidents last year. That's according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2009, there were two deaths and approximately 8,800 injuries. The year before, there were seven people killed and an estimated 7,000 others hurt.Read the latest report.
It's unclear how legalizing fireworks would impact the number of injuries because the agency doesn't track injuries by state.
"Consumers need to heed our warning: fireworks related incidents, especially those involving illegal fireworks, can be fatal," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Only use legal fireworks and follow CPSC's tips to ensure your holiday remains festive and safe."
Here are some fireworks safety tips from the CPSC:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
There are several professional fireworks displays taking place locally this weekend. Click here for a complete list.
This is the "Facebook Story of the Day". Do you think it should be legal to sell some fireworks in New York State? If so, which ones? Do you think it's a good way to raise revenues or do you think it's putting profit ahead of safety? Do you let your kids play with fireworks? Leave your thoughts below.