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Illinois is one of three states that still bans most fireworks

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(The Center Square) – The residents of 47 states will be able to celebrate around Independence Day with fireworks, but that’s still not the case in Illinois.

Since 1942, the Illinois Pyrotechnic Use Act has prohibited residents from buying and using fireworks other than novelty items like handheld sparklers.

There has been a push to allow ground sparklers, which Matt Murphy with Mac Strategies said would keep Illinoisans from buying out of state.

“That’s one less person going across the border and buying far more dangerous fireworks, even under this bill, would still be illegal in Illinois,” said Murphy last year.

Margaret Vaughn with the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance has been an outspoken critic of allowing any kind of fireworks in the state. She said allowing ground sprinklers could lead to deadly results.

“The unintended consequences of this, the catastrophic injuries, the deaths that are going to result in this is something that no one would want to be part of their legislative record,” said Vaughn.

According to the American Pyrotechnic Association, fireworks-related injuries have declined significantly over the past few decades. In 1976, the injury rate was 38.3 injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks, while by 2022, it had fallen to 2.2 injuries per 100,000 pounds, the lowest in five decades.

The measure failed to advance last year, and another attempt to include legalizing ground sparklers to raise tax revenue in this year’s budget also failed to advance.

Despite the threat of a hefty fine for setting off fireworks in Illinois, people continue to cross over to Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin to get their fix.

Chris Brunson with Mark’s Fireworks in Evansville, Indiana, with locations all over the state, said they see a steady stream of Illinois license plates in the parking lot.

“We do, we have a location in Vincennes that gets Illinois business, but we have plenty of locations in Indiana that get traffic from Illinois,” said Brunson.

Violating the Illinois Pyrotechnic Use Act is a Class A misdemeanor, with fines ranging from $75 to $2,500.

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