Pennsylvania Passes Law Expanding Explosive Fireworks At Consumer Level

Keystone Fireworks display by Rupp’s Soft Touch Automatic Car Wash in West Kittanning is one of two locations in the area that have some of the newer items as allowed by Act 43. The other fireworks stand is by Wal-Mart on Hilltop Plaza in Kittanning

by KP Intern Kyle Predmore

At last week’s East Franklin Township Board of Supervisors regular meeting, one of the bigger talking points was focused around two fireworks stands – one by the Wal-Mart in Kittanning and the other by Rupp’s Soft Touch Automatic Car Wash in West Kittanning.

Act 43 was passed in Pennsylvania last October and the big difference is what firework stands can now sell to consumers.

Greg McKelvey, Zoning Officer For East Franklin Township discussed the increase in explosive materials now legal for consumer purchase in the state of Pennsylvania during the East Franklin Township meeting last Thursday and suggested the move was done so the state can collect additional tax money.

“The state expanded the fireworks law that allows consumers to purchase significantly more powerful fireworks than they’ve been able to purchase in the past,” East Franklin Zoning Officer Greg McKelvey said. “The state increased the amount of explosive material for consumer grade fireworks and pushed it up to 50 milligrams.”

McKelvey added that the previous law had the material closer to 25-30 and is aware that the change in law will also change what the public will see and hear as we near the 4th of July.

“I think people as for public information we are going to see a lot more fireworks and a lot bigger way than we have in the past and hopefully that goes that occurs without significant disturbance to the public or individual safety,”

Now that stands have more leeway as what they an sell, McKelvey added that these tents have an increase in what they have in stock.

“I visited both permitted sites that we have in the township and they showed me probably 20% to 25% more things that they’ve been able to sell in the past in regard to fireworks.”

Before Act 43 was passed, the only way to get fireworks above that legal limit was to cross state boarders for purchase.

“That’s probably what drove the act to be passed,” McKelvey said. “With this new law the state passed, this now allows more tax money to be collected. You can now buy fireworks from retailers that you wouldn’t have been able to in the past.”

Everyone wants to have fun, and on top of the expected increase of calls to the police, safety is a concern.

“We are very concerned for the residents. We are also hopeful people will be aware of the dangers and be careful. We understand some people like fireworks, and others done. We just ask if you’re going to be setting anything off, let your surrounding neighbors know and give them a heads up.”

The new law may give more leniency to the amount of explosive material, but there are still restrictions as to where they can be let off. The Act reads, “they are not to be discharged within 150 feet from any occupied structure.”

As celebrations, festivals and parades lead us into the 4th of July, remember to be careful if you choose to purchase and let off fireworks this season.