Fireworks bill causes confusion - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fireworks bill causes confusion

June 30, 2005

Lee County/Tifton- The fireworks tent in Lee County is just one of nearly 200 that are located at Wal-marts across the state, and employees say business is booming.

"We've been doing anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 a day in fireworks sales which is four to five times what they get in Alabama, so the novelty of it being new in Georgia makes a humongous difference," says manager Gordon Fletcher.

But, being new is also creating some legal confusion. Tifton police ordered three retailers to take certain TNT fireworks off their shelves Wednesday. There was a difference in what city officials and the fireworks company considered "aerial fireworks," which are still prohibited in Georgia. So, state officials stepped in to referee.

"The fire commissioners office did hold a meeting with the TNT firework company, and it was basically a fact finding mission. They set a couple of scenarios to see what would happen should these fireworks catch on fire in a mercantile setting," says Det. Ricky Day of the Tifton Police.

Sprinkler systems did extinguish the fire, and state officials gave TNT the green light to sell sparklers and nonexplosive, non-aerial sparkling fireworks.

"The difference in the legality has to do with projectiles and explosives. All of these are fountain-based. So, you sit it on the ground and you light it. It's what they call safe and sane versus unsafe and insane fireworks," says Fletcher.

Still, law enforcers and state officials are reminding consumers that what's legal other places, may not be legal in Georgia.

"At this point it is very, very confusing, but we can settle that confusion. If you have questions feel free to call us. We'll explain it to you," says Day.

Even though they've been given clarification, Tifton police say state officials admit they will likely have to re-visit Senate Bill 133 next session and try to clarify the wording.

So what fireworks ARE legal in Georgia? Senate Bill 133 allows the sale of typical sparklers and other sparkling items which contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes.

It also legalizes snake and glow worms, trick noise makers, including paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops with .25 grains or less of explosive mixture.

All aerial explosives and firecrackers of any size are illegal in Georgia.

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