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December 31, 2017

Don't get excited about Pennsylvania's new fireworks law, Philly

Fireworks Laws
Fireworks Pexels Stock Photo Pixabay/Pexels


You may have heard aerial fireworks are now legal in Pennsylvania. Which means you can shoot off as many as you want from the tiny backyard of your Philly rowhome to celebrate the new year, right?


As city spokeswoman Ajeenah Amir points out, the new law — which quietly passed as part of larger tax legislation — only allows for state residents to purchase certain types of fireworks in Pennsylvania.

"It did not impact individual municipalities' authority to impose restrictions on aerial usage," Amir told PhillyVoice in an email. "So, those restrictions remain in effect."

In other words, aerial fireworks are still illegal to use in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Fire Department, the only fireworks you can use in the city are sparklers.

The reason for the restriction is the city's high population density. The city said Thursday police will have zero tolerance for those who participate in illegal activity, and encouraged residents to attend the public displays of fireworks on New Year's Eve, such as on the Delaware River Waterfront.

Under the new Pennsylvania law, passed earlier this month, state vendors can obtain a new certificate to sell aerial fireworks to customers 18 and older.

Previously, Pennsylvanians were barred from setting off Class C fireworks, and were limited to a small list of "safe and sane" fireworks.

The legislation adds a 12 percent fireworks tax on top of the six percent sales tax to help the state's first responders.

Again, however, you still can't use them in Philly (unless you're willing to wade through some tricky red tape and shell out $350 for a display permit).

Oh, and as always, do not shoot your gun off this New Year's Eve.