Pennsylvanians who launch their own fireworks on New Year's Eve can now celebrate with bigger ones than before, thanks to a new pyrotechnics law in the state.
The changes made under the legislation passed Oct. 30 allow Pennsylvanians to stock up on a full line of "consumer grade" fireworks that comply with federal regulations.
That means Pennsylvania residents can leave those sparklers in the basement this weekend and light up the sky with fireworks like Roman candles, bottle rockets, mortars, aerial shells and firecrackers. Previously, fireworks retailers could only sell such products to out-of-state shoppers.
Fireworks fans should still head to Penn's Landing for the big show, however. Display-grade fireworks are still only to be used by professionals, or operators who hold a special permit.
The new law, which also added a 12 percent tax on the purchases, was passed as part of this year's budget package and is expected to bring in more than $9 million in a year, according to the Associated Press.
Retailers with licenses to carry the fireworks are excited about the change. Keystone Fireworks in Lancaster has encouraged residents to come buy the "good stuff" to see what they've "been missing."
Phantom Fireworks, which has several locations in Pennsylvania, said its stores are licensed to sell a full line-up of fireworks in time for the weekend.
The American Pyrotechnics Association advises those using fireworks to handle with them with caution.
"New Year's Eve is one of the most popular days of the year, aside from Independence Day, to celebrate with backyard fireworks, so safety must be a top priority," Julie L. Heckman, the association's executive director, said in a statement. "It's important that individuals take the time to plan their fireworks celebrations by selecting a safe location that is free of debris and has a flat level surface."
The association has a video on how to properly use fireworks: