WILKES-BARRE — With the Fourth of July just around the corner, some residents are excited they can finally celebrate with “the good stuff” after a recent law change.
On Oct. 30, 2017, the state replaced the Fireworks Act of 1939 with a new law allowing residents over age 18 to purchase “Class C,” or “consumer-grade,” fireworks. Class C fireworks contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. According to the State Police website, this includes firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks.
Previously, residents could purchase only novelty fireworks, which included sparklers and fountains.
Kevin Shaub, owner of Keystone Fireworks, said excitement is at an all-time high for the holiday due to the law change.
Keystone recently opened a new 10,000-square-foot store on Carey Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
The store, which Shaub describes as a “firework supermarket,” is a direct result of the law change.
“It has allowed us to open up superstores in places we normally wouldn’t have,” said Shaub.
But not everyone is aware of the recent rule changes.
“People call our store all day long and say, ‘I heard a rumor that the law has changed, is it true?” Shaub noted. “It’s almost like things were so strict in Pennsylvania for so long, that people refuse to believe that they can just walk in a store now and buy what they want.”
The business has reached out to media outlets to try to heighten awareness about what residents can now purchase.
“We’ve done advertising everywhere, but it’s more than you can really convey on a billboard,” Shaub said.
Opponents of the new law have been vocal about safety issues, but Shaub and his store do their part to properly educate buyers on the potential dangers of their products.
“With any item that could be potentially dangerous, common sense really pays a huge part,” said Shaub. “But if you look at the injuries in our industry, the great majority come from misuse or people trying to build their own fireworks.”
The law includes restrictions on where fireworks can be used. Fireworks cannot be discharged on a property without a property owner’s permission, and they cannot be discharged inside or toward a motor vehicle or building.