House Bill 542 was signed into law on October 30, 2017. Under the new law, the Fireworks Act of 1939 was repealed and replaced in its entirety. However, the questions and answers below highlight the most noteworthy changes.
Q: Which fireworks are Pennsylvania residents now allowed to purchase and use?
Consumers can now purchase and use “Class C” or “consumer-grade” fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. The expansion includes those fireworks that were previously only available to out-of-state residents.
“Display fireworks,” which are classified as including salutes that contain more than two grains or 130 milligrams of explosive materials, and professional-grade aerial shells containing more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, are still only to be used by professionals with a permit from the municipality where the display will take place. Upper Saucon Township regulates Display Fireworks. See Ordinance 164.
Q: Who can purchase fireworks?
Anyone 18 years of age or older can purchase them.
Q: May Municipalities require residents to get a permit before buying or using Consumer Fireworks?
No. Act 143 of 2017 changed the Pennsylvania Fireworks Law to eliminate permits that authorize residents to purchase consumer fireworks.
Q: Other than enforcing state law, can municipalities take any other steps to restrict the use of consumer fireworks?
Not really. Because state law allows residents to buy and use consumer fireworks, municipalities are limited as to what they can do. It is the opinion of the Township Solicitor that Upper Saucon cannot regulate Consumer Fireworks.
Q: What are the restrictions on where they can be used?
They cannot be ignited or discharged on a public or private property without express permission of the property owner.
They cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or building.
They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.
Q: Where can the fireworks be purchased?
Airborne fireworks, including Roman candles and bottle rockets may only be purchased at licensed brick-and-mortar stores.