HUDSON - Those purchasing fireworks in Ohio to celebrate Independence Day are noticing a change at the checkout this year. They no longer have to sign a so-called “liar's law form.”
For years, anyone buying consumer-grade fireworks in Ohio had to sign the form identifying themselves and promising to take the fireworks out of the state within 48 hours. Though the form is no longer required, the law has not changed. Setting off fireworks like bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers remains illegal in the Buckeye State.
“That's a blessing because you know you felt guilty about signing it,” said Robin Williams-Townsend, of Cleveland.
Williams-Townsend was among hundreds of shoppers flooding American Fireworks in Hudson Sunday, during one of its busiest days of the year. American Fireworks President John Sorgi said he supports the removal of the form.
“It's not a huge difference. The laws really haven’t changed, themselves, but the form has changed,” Sorgi said.
Shoppers can legally buy fireworks in the state, and sparklers, snaps and smoke bombs are among the novelty items that can be legally used in the state.
“Everyone knows what's going on, and it’s a step toward legalization if you look at states around us, Michigan’s gone legal, Indiana's gone legal, Pennsylvania for a lot of the parts is legal,” Sorgi said.
A 2004 state bill to legalize consumer fireworks never made it out of a House committee because of a procedural hold up.
Sorgi, whose business is among a limited number in the state that are licensed to sell fireworks, said he’s hopeful the law will change to legalize use of fireworks. He said other states charge a tax on firework sales that goes toward fire prevention education.
“People are shooting them either way, and you can put a lot more into education that way,” he said.
Those caught breaking the law could face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.