PHILADELPHIA - A new Pennsylvania fireworks bill that could sentence a person to five to ten years in prison for setting off fireworks is receiving explosive feedback from people in the industry.
The proposed bill will allow municipalities to place their own restrictions on the type of fireworks that can be set off. It will also place statewide time restrictions on when fireworks can be set off to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on July 2 to July 4 and December 31, which will extend to 1 a.m.
Bryan Williams, Manager at Phantom Fireworks in Penndel, Pa. says that safety has always been the number one priority of his company, but he fears that the penalties of jail time could hurt his industry.
"I think it could be something that could hinder fireworks sales," said Williams. "It's something that could hinder the way people use and enjoy fireworks."
The bill passed the House 160 to 38 earlier this month, and now it is being considered in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Suharto Olivia of Newark, NJ, says that a prison sentence seems a little extreme.
"Five to 10 is crazy," she said. "You see people doing sexual assault and rape, and they don't get that much time."
Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street voted against the bill because he says the penalties are too harsh.
"Look I think we need to curtail it, but sending people to jail for this it just doesn't make sense," said Senator Street. "We have enough people in jail doing more serious things than fireworks, but giving municipalities some ability to make rules that makes sense for their communities also makes sense."
Paul Roushey of Richboro, Pa. agrees with Senator Street, but he also says that using fireworks just requires basic common sense.
"Just use your head. There are instructions on there if you light it step away from it, don't light things in your hand you know things like that common sense if you have common sense you'll be safe with fireworks," Roushey said.
Twelve percent of the taxes from fireworks will go directly to emergency services instead of the general fund, according to the new bill.
Local municipalities and law enforcement are encouraging people to check with them to see what type of fireworks are allowed in your area.