Orleans urged to change fireworks law and allow ‘sparkling devices’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 May 2017 at 9:49 am

ALBION – Orleans County remains a holdout in changing its fireworks law to make it legal for residents to let off “sparkling devices” – ground-based fireworks that spew sparks, colored smoke or crackling noises.

More than 40 of New York’s 62 counties have changed the law since New York state gave counties the option in 2014 for sparkling devices.

The County Legislature on Wednesday was asked by TNT Fireworks, based in Alabama, to change the local law.

“Just over 40 counties have opted in for sparkling devices,” said Matthew Jones, an attorney for TNT.

Most of Western New York allows sparkling devices. Niagara County is the top-selling county for TNT in the state, Jones said.

Right now there is a “patchwork of laws” in New York, which makes it difficult for law enforcement, he said.

Orleans County residents, for example, could buy sparkling devices in Niagara County, but it would be illegal to set them off in Orleans County.

The sparkling devices raise sales tax revenue for counties, and also can be used for fundraising options in a program through TNT.

Because TNT already sells its products at WalMart and other well-known stores, Jones said the company could quickly have its sparkling devices available in Orleans County if the Legislature allows the items.

Lynne Johnson, vice chairwoman of the County Legislature, said she wants to first hear from the local fire departments and Public Safety Committee before the Legislature votes on the issue.

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