NCGA considers legalizing airborne fireworks

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Though some may not want to admit it, there are many people throughout North Carolina who go across the border and buy fireworks from South Carolina that they’re not able to buy in this state.

Now some bills introduced at the General Assembly could change that.

The types of fireworks mentioned in the bills are consumer fireworks that would shoot off the ground and explode in the air, smaller versions of the fireworks you see after baseball games or on the Fourth of July.

Those types of fireworks are currently illegal in this state.

fireworks

WNCN spoke with the sponsor of one of the bills, Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union.

“The law is not enforced and law enforcement does not enforce anything,” said Brody. “Basically, [this bill] says we’re going to legalize something that I would consider that the citizens of North Carolina have already spoken to legalize anyways.”

Not everyone agrees that legalizing consumer fireworks is something that should happen in North Carolina.

One of those people is Dr. Ernest Grant at the UNC Jaycee Burn center.

“If you are bringing in more business in this form, the fact that someone may lose their arm, may lose their fingers, their eyes or whatever else, they may now become dependent or have to go on disability,” he said.

“We potentially may have an exponential amount of fireworks-related injuries that we normally do not see,” said Grant.

Grant said he hopes lawmakers will think twice about what these bills could mean.

“I would hope that the individuals who are considering this piece of legislation would really stop and think about the potential consequences, the burden that it may put on the people of North Carolina.”

Brody said that while “South Carolina is considered the Wild West of fireworks,” and is a state where it’s easy to obtain more dangerous fireworks and explosives, North Carolina wouldn’t be like that.

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to put down controls to provide as safe a consumer firework as possible,” he said. “We’re going to eliminate the fly-by-night retailers that go buy things that you can get cheap. We’re going to concentrate on the permanent retailers who have things built to their specs [and] have insurance backing them.”

Brody said that when he recently went to a fireworks retailer in South Carolina just before the Fourth of July, he noted that the ratio of North Carolina to South Carolina license tags was 2-to-1.

With so many leaving the state to spend their money on fireworks in South Carolina, a change to this state’s law could make a big difference.

“It will generate a lot of income for North Carolina that’s right now going to South Carolina,” said Brody.

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