Ariz. House passes bill to legalize some fireworks

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Fireworks to be legal?

Ariz. House passes bill to legalize some fireworks - Arizonans might be able to celebrate the Fourth of July with their own fireworks this year.

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PHOENIX -- Arizonans might be able to celebrate the Fourth of July with their own fireworks this year.

With a vote of 34 to 21, the House on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize sparklers and some types of fireworks. That bill is now going to the Senate.

If the Senate green lights it, Arizonan will be able to buy and use sparklers and fireworks that shoot flames and sparks. Firecrackers that explode or shoot up into the air will remain illegal.

Right now, all fireworks are illegal in Arizona. Buying, selling, using and simply possessing them is against the law, and has been since 1941. That includes skyrockets, firecrackers, torpedoes, Roman candles, daygo bombs, and sparklers. Events that feature fireworks or pyrotechnic displays require a permit from the Arizona State Fire Marshal.

House Bill 2258, which was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert), would give the fire marshal the power to regulate the sale of consumer-grade fireworks such as sparklers and Roman candles through licenses and fees. Sales on those fireworks would be restricted to those 16 and older.

Fire officials are concerned about the potential safety issues and challenges passage of the bill could pose to local fire departments, not to mention to the potential danger to the community.

"If you have a bottle rocket or you have kids playing with matches ... and it starts to burn down a house, you have a very complicated fire scenario for our firefighters to fight and it's very dangerous," said Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Kahn. "We just are very, very pessimistic when it comes to fireworks."

Along with the Phoenix Fire Department, Phoenix-based Foundation for Burns and Trauma also opposes the bill.

Those who support House Bill 2258 say that sparklers and small pyrotechnics are so small that they do not need government regulation.