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snopes
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Comment: My brother-in-law claims that the reason that you see fireworks
stores very close to state lines (and virtually no place else) is because
they can sell fireworks to people who are from OUT of state which are
illegal for people to posess who are residents of the state in which the
store is LOCATED!!

The idea is that for example, if I live in southern Michigan, I can cross
the state line into Ohio, and they can sell me fireworks from the store in
Ohio, which are illegal for a resident of Ohio to have, but it's OK
because I don't LIVE in Ohio!

He swears that's the reason they check your license and he was told that
by the store personnel.

I maintain there is no way a store in ANY state can sell an item which is
illegal in THAT STATE?

It IS true you tend to see fireworks stores near state lines and I'm not
sure why, but can THIS really be the reason???

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Lainie
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The law in Ohio is that you can buy the fireworks so long as you take them out of state within a certain period -- 24 or 48 hours, I think. So depending on the fireworks laws in the bordering state, it might make sense to drive into Ohio, buy the fireworks, and take them back home.

Of course, people who live in Ohio just lie about what they're doing with the fireworks. You have to fill out a form providing the out-of-state address to which you're taking the fireworks. So people just write down Uncle Ed's address in PA or NY.

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Brad from Georgia
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This comes from an old National Lampoon piece that claimed the place to buy fireworks was right over the border of the next state. If you live in South Carolina, you drive over the border to North Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks...if you live in North Carolina, you drive over the border to South Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks.

It wuz a joke, if ah recalls ko-rekly.

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csel's in 2nd Grade
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Actually, in the Denver metro area, we have fireworks stands up all over the place - but most of the cities/counties/municipalities ban the use of them. You can buy them but don't use them here - I don't think there is a law about taking them somwhere else, either. A friend from Iowa was incredulous.

We do not, however, have a state law banning the use of fireworks.

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dewey
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Maine does not allow people to drive to New Hampshire, purchase fireworks and return to Maine.

Here is an article. I think Massachusetts has run similar stings but I have no proof of it at present.

As to the original question I think the reason these sales take place on the border is economic, not legal. They are targeting states where fireworks are illegal and making it convenient to shop. New Hampshire similarly places discount liquor store on the border.

dewey

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Grand Illusion
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quote:
Originally posted by csel's on vacation:
Actually, in the Denver metro area, we have fireworks stands up all over the place - but most of the cities/counties/municipalities ban the use of them. You can buy them but don't use them here - I don't think there is a law about taking them somwhere else, either. A friend from Iowa was incredulous.

We do not, however, have a state law banning the use of fireworks.

Currently in Colorado, there is a statewide ban on any fireworks, including "safe" ones like sparklers, which don't leave the ground, because of the elevated fire danger the past few years from dry seasons. However, in normal, wet years when safe fireworks are legal, it is still illegal to use fireworks that leave the ground, and places in the state do not sell them. There is a huge fireworks shop just across the border in Wyoming where lots of Coloradans go to buy their fireworks and go back to Colorado to launch them.

This is the opposite of what the OP is saying, which is that the illegal state can sell them within bounds to out-of-staters. That scenario just doesn't make sense. If I live in Wyoming, where fireworks are legal, why would I drive all the way into Colorado to buy my fireworks? And if I were a Colorado fireworks vendor, why would I set up shop near the Wyoming border to sell to Wyoming residents when I know that it's out of the way for most Wyoming residents? Maybe if there is a sales tax advantage or something, but I doubt that is the case.

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dewey
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quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:

This is the opposite of what the OP is saying, which is that the illegal state can sell them within bounds to out-of-staters. That scenario just doesn't make sense...

As much as it doesn't make sense, Lainie was correct. In Ohio they can sell fireworks to out-of-staters even though it is illegal to discharge fireworks in Ohio. This flies in the face of reason but is easily verified by googling ohio + fireworks + laws. So the Brother-in-law was correct but only for Ohio.

dewey

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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by dewey:
quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:

This is the opposite of what the OP is saying, which is that the illegal state can sell them within bounds to out-of-staters. That scenario just doesn't make sense...

As much as it doesn't make sense, Lainie was correct. In Ohio they can sell fireworks to out-of-staters even though it is illegal to discharge fireworks in Ohio. This flies in the face of reason but is easily verified by googling ohio + fireworks + laws. So the Brother-in-law was correct but only for Ohio.

dewey

I believe this is true in Indiana and possibly Michigan as well. We buy our fireworks in Indiana and I usually have to sign something that says I am taking them out of state. This does not mean that it's legal for me as a Michigan resident to bring illegal fireworks into the state. Which is er why I only do that hypothetically speaking...

I know there are fireworks stores in Michigan near the Ohio border, but I can not recall seeing any near the Indiana border.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
I believe this is true in Indiana and possibly Michigan as well. We buy our fireworks in Indiana and I usually have to sign something that says I am taking them out of state. This does not mean that it's legal for me as a Michigan resident to bring illegal fireworks into the state. Which is er why I only do that hypothetically speaking...

And from the POV of the people selling the fireworks, it doesn't matter. They're counting on people going, "Oooh, I can buy fireworks in this state? As long as I take them out of the state? Cool!" The fireworks selller has completed a legal sale. If the purchaser then violates the law by importing the fireworks into his home state, and/or by setting them off there, that's not the seller's problem.

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by dewey:
quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:

This is the opposite of what the OP is saying, which is that the illegal state can sell them within bounds to out-of-staters. That scenario just doesn't make sense...

As much as it doesn't make sense, Lainie was correct. In Ohio they can sell fireworks to out-of-staters even though it is illegal to discharge fireworks in Ohio. This flies in the face of reason but is easily verified by googling ohio + fireworks + laws.
Similar situation exists in Pennsylvania - Phantom Fireworks performs all the same checks for ID, and even makes you sign a statement saying you are not a PA resident. Forget state fireworks laws - they sell mortars so big they're in violation of SALT II.

In Alabama, they have the stores on the border with the huge "FIREWORKS!!!" signs, but the fireworks they sell are legal to fire in Alabama (or at least they were the last time I was there to buy any).

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"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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dewey
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Beachlife,

That was true about Indiana but the law changed in March of 2006. Now fireworks are legal in Indiana.

Here is an article about it.

dewey

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dewey
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Bufungla,

I see no such provision in the Fireworks laws for Pennsylvania. It is possible that Phantom Fireworks is operating illegally.

Here are the laws for Pennsylvania.

dewey

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by dewey:
Bufungla,

I see no such provision in the Fireworks laws for Pennsylvania. It is possible that Phantom Fireworks is operating illegally.

Here are the laws for Pennsylvania.

dewey

All it says is what they're not allowed to own as consumer fireworks in PA, which is why you have to prove you don't live in PA for it to be a legal sale:

quote:
Any combustible or explosive composition prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation. This includes, but is not limited to, firecrackers, skyrockets, roman candles, aerial fireworks, or other fireworks of like construction, and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound.
BTW, did you notice that your cite is from the Phantom Fireworks site?

--------------------
"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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dewey
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Bufungla,

Here are the laws for Ohio. They specifically state that fireworks can only be sold to out-of-state customers. The Pennsylvania laws do not state that. I guess my interpretation of the laws is different from Phantom's. The laws for Massachusetts are the same as for Penn but there are no Phantom Fireworks stores in Massachusetts. I have no explanation for the discrepancy. [Confused]

BTW, I had not noticed that the site I was referring you to was Phantom's. [dunce]

dewey

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by dewey:
Bufungla,

Here are the laws for Ohio. They specifically state that fireworks can only be sold to out-of-state customers.

I can't get to that link. Does it say "out-of-state customers," or does it say that the fireworks have to be taken out of state? I know what it used to be when I went with my ex to buy them, but it may have changed since then.

On a related note, a fireworks store in North Carolina sold a fountain-style firework item to my then 11YO DD without even asking her age. This was a bit startling to me and the family friend we were traveling with.

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by dewey:
Bufungla,

Here are the laws for Ohio. They specifically state that fireworks can only be sold to out-of-state customers.

I can't get to that link. Does it say "out-of-state customers," or does it say that the fireworks have to be taken out of state? I know what it used to be when I went with my ex to buy them, but it may have changed since then.

For Ohio:

quote:
CONSUMER FIREWORKS
Specifically permitted Sparklers, trick noisemakers & novelties are exempt under Ohio law. Other consumer fireworks may be sold to Ohio residents upon execution of a form agreeing to take the items out to the state within 48 hours, or to out-of state residents upon execution of a form agreeing to take the items out the state within 72 hours.

For PA:

quote:
CONSUMER FIREWORKS
Specifically Permitted Sparklers, toy pistols, or other devices in which paper caps are used which contain .25 grains or less of explosive compound, and are constructed so the hand cannot come into contact with the cap when in place for the explosion. Also permitted are toy cannons which operate on the principle of mixing calcium carbide, weighting less that 1/10th ounce and water in the reservoir of the cannon, and in which ignition results upon the creation of a spark.
Specifically Prohibited Any combustible or explosive composition prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation. This includes, but is not limited to, firecrackers, skyrockets, roman candles, aerial fireworks, or other fireworks of like construction, and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound.

Since the site is sponsored by a mail-order fireworks company, their purpose for hosting copies of the laws is to inform their comsumers what is and isn't legal for them to own in their area. Specifically, their section on PA law omits the part applying to the seller, listed below:

quote:
1103. Sale of consumer fireworks.
A licensee may sell consumer fireworks to any of the following:
(1) A Pennsylvania resident who holds a permit from the municipality in which the fireworks will be used under section 1105(a)(1) (relating to supervised public displays) and whose identification is verified to the licensee. The licensee shall retain proof of the permit and the identification and shall produce it for review upon request of the department, a law enforcement officer or a chief of a fire department.
(2) An out-of-State resident who holds a permit from the municipality in which the fireworks will be used and whose identification is verified to the licensee if the fireworks will be shipped by common carrier and in compliance with applicable regulations directly out of State to the purchaser and to an address within the municipality from which the purchaser has received a permit. The licensee shall retain proof of the permit and the identification and shall produce it for review upon request of the department, a law enforcement officer or a chief of a fire department.
(3) An out-of-State resident who does not hold a permit from the municipality in which the fireworks will be used if the purchaser signs an affidavit agreeing to secure the permit within five business days and before displaying the consumer fireworks. The purchaser shall provide the facility with a copy of the permit. If the purchaser does not secure the permit within five business days, the purchaser shall ship, in compliance with applicable regulations and at the purchaser's expense, the fireworks back to the facility for a full refund. A facility may exercise this option only once for any purchaser. The permit shall be immediately available for review upon request of the department, a law enforcement officer or the chief of a fire department.

At worst, they're abusing the bit about the permit, assuming that the law is referencing and concerned with permits for out-of-state use. My original thought was that they'd have to have the original set of ferrous genitalia to host documentation detailing how they were breaking the law on their own site.

--------------------
"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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Lainie
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The Ohio law is as I remembered it. The ex and I used to go to this fireworks factory in NE Ohio that sold some of its products in a trailer on site.

They made all the purchasers complete and sign the form described in the law. You had to provide the specific address to which you were taking the fireworks -- so people would just write down Uncle Joe's address in NY or wherever.

Around the 4th of July, they set up a big tent out front and hired a bunch of temps (attractive young woman in shorts and halter tops, generally) to process the forms. The fireworks factory was a huge thorn in the side of the local sheriff, and they knew he sent people in undercover every year, so they were very, very, careful.

It was all very wink-and-nod: "And on this line, you put the out-of-state address to which you intend to take the fireworks within 48 hours of purchase." One year there was a group of college-age guys ahead of us, and the guy doing the paperwork for them simply was not catching the drift.

Dense Guy: "I have to take them out of state?"
Temp: "State law requires blah blah blah"
Dense Guy: "I can't set them off in Ohio?"
Temp: "State law requires blah blah blah"
Dense Guy: "But -- "
Dense Guy's Not-so-Dense Friend: "Shut up and let me fill that out."

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MissEltoe
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All I know is coming from Atlanta (a family reunion a couple years ago) we stopped at a stand in (South? I think) Carolina and bought a butt-load of fireworks that were cheap as hell and fun!

They're illegal in NJ, but we've done them all now. Besides, they were very low-key, not very loud or big.

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Paulie Jay
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Fireworks are illegal in Australia except in the ACT. The Australian Captital Territory - it's sort of like our version of District of Columbia - is the place where federal politics happen, and also the place where you can do almost anything (legal pot, legal prostitution, fireworks... it all makes up for the fact that Canberra is one of the most boring places on Earth).

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Bill Door
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quote:
Originally posted by Paulie Jay:
Fireworks are illegal in Australia except in the ACT. The Australian Captital Territory - it's sort of like our version of District of Columbia - is the place where federal politics happen, and also the place where you can do almost anything (legal pot, legal prostitution, fireworks... it all makes up for the fact that Canberra is one of the most boring places on Earth).

...Not illegal in Tasmania - but you do need a permit. There's a store not 15 minutes drive from where I am now that can arrange the permit for a backyard display and sell me the fireworks for it...

- Bill Door

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dewey
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Thank you, Bufungla. That part that was missing from the link I had makes it all clear now. I did not dig deep enough. Sometimes work gets in the way of my Snopesing.

dewey

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by Paulie Jay:
Fireworks are illegal in Australia except in the ACT. The Australian Captital Territory - it's sort of like our version of District of Columbia - is the place where federal politics happen, and also the place where you can do almost anything (legal pot, legal prostitution, fireworks... it all makes up for the fact that Canberra is one of the most boring places on Earth).

Hey, Sydney has legal prostitution, decriminalised pot (at least) and a needle exchange program for heroin addicts, along with one of the most picturesque skylines in existence (and nothing you're likely to buy from a fireworks vendor is likely to top the fireworks show from the Harbour Bridge). In fact, aside from the traffic, the best thing about Canberra is its proximity to Sydney.

buf 'though you've got to love a capital city named after a pair of breasts' ungla

--------------------
"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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'though you've got to love a capital city named after a pair of breasts'
Erm...Canberra? Aboriginal for "meeting place". You're not thinking of Toowoomba are you?

Toowoomba comes from the Aboriginal word 'Choowoomba', which means 'place of melons'.

Yeah, the fireworks on the Harbour Bridge are ok if you like spending the night squashed between 1,000,000 drunken louts, but for me there's something magical about personally lighting that touchpaper... [Smile] Next stop Tasmania!

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All the way with Paulie Jay

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BeachLife
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I'm in the process of taking my daugher to school in Virginia. Today we drove from Michigan, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and into Virginia. In almost everycase, just before we crossed a state border we'd come across a fireworks stand.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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bufungla
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quote:
Originally posted by Paulie Jay:
'though you've got to love a capital city named after a pair of breasts'
Erm...Canberra? Aboriginal for "meeting place". You're not thinking of Toowoomba are you?

Nope.

quote:
The word Canberra is believed to mean "meeting place" in the Ngnunawal language, though some accounts say that it means "women's breasts", a reference to Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain, two elevations in the central Canberra area. It was apparently used in relation to the Molonglo River, which flows through Canberra.
Given the Aboriginal penchant for making one word serve several (dozen) different purposes, I can see both accounts being true.

buf 'we meet over there, by the women's breasts' ungla

--------------------
"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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Paulie Jay
O Little Down-Payment of Bethlehem


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Hmmm, first I've heard of it to be honest.

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All the way with Paulie Jay

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Photo Spread
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
This comes from an old National Lampoon piece that claimed the place to buy fireworks was right over the border of the next state. If you live in South Carolina, you drive over the border to North Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks...if you live in North Carolina, you drive over the border to South Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks.

It wuz a joke, if ah recalls ko-rekly.

It's only half a joke. In NC, most of the "fun" fireworks are illegal - roman candles, bottle rockets, and anything else that leaves the ground are illegal. In SC you can buy cool stuff that will blow up small houses. [OK, maybe that's hyperbole... [Cool] ] So North Carolinians will travel to SC to buy "the good stuff". Or TN, or any other neighboring state that doesn't have laws as restrictive as ours.

But I doubt any South Carolinians come to NC to buy fireworks - ours are too boring.

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Photo Spread

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applepwnz
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I live in MA, and just about everything is illegal here (including the "lesser" fireworks like sparklers, firecrackers, etc...) but it's a very short drive to New Hampshire and I know that when I've bought fireworks there (I went to school in NH last year) they didn't even look twice at my MA driver's license. I know that around here even though fireworks are illegal, everyone still uses them (especially around holidays) and nobody makes a big deal out of it.

On another "across state lines" topic, I've noticed that in NH they ALWAYS card me when I buy cigarettes but I don't think that I've ever been carded buying beer, isn't that odd?

Posts: 22 | From: Central MA/Southern NH | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
This comes from an old National Lampoon piece that claimed the place to buy fireworks was right over the border of the next state. If you live in South Carolina, you drive over the border to North Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks...if you live in North Carolina, you drive over the border to South Carolina to buy your illegal fireworks.

It wuz a joke, if ah recalls ko-rekly.

I believe such was the inspiration for that legendary complex known as "South of the Border" on I-95, no?

E2A: Until a few years ago, Minnesota was an absolute "no-go" when it came to fireworks, forcing many to go into South Dakota (especially so Star Fireworks outside Mitchell) to buy their July 4th pyrotechnica fix.

Nowadays, Minnesota permits these pyrotechnics for consumer sale:
quote:

Wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of pyrotechnic composition per item. Ground-based sparkling devices which are non-explosive and non aerial, and contain 75 grams or less of chemical mixture per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tube items and include: fountains, cones, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, flash/strobes, and novelty devices including snakes, glow worms, trick noisemakers, party poppers, and snappers.


Meanwhile, Minnesota still considers the following specimens of pyrotechnica to be Verboten:
quote:

Firecrackers, torpedoes, missiles, skyrockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, daygo bombs, mines and shells, chasers, and parachutes.



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"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."

Posts: 1316 | From: Winona, MN | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Georgia recently loosened up, now permitting some fizzers and sparklers, but no firecrackers or rockets. When I was a boy, you could find just about every kind of firework. The rockets were expensive, though, so we made do by using slingshots--load the slingshot with a firecracker, have someone light the fuse, and send that sucker straight up into the air.

That was before the days of M-80s, though. Wouldn't want to try that.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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Nobody Important
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Georgia recently loosened up, now permitting some fizzers and sparklers, but no firecrackers or rockets. When I was a boy, you could find just about every kind of firework. The rockets were expensive, though, so we made do by using slingshots--load the slingshot with a firecracker, have someone light the fuse, and send that sucker straight up into the air.

That was before the days of M-80s, though. Wouldn't want to try that.

When we lived in Georgia, we used to joke about building a store on the Georgia/ Alabama line, with Last Chance Lottery on one side and Last Chance Fireworks on the other side.
Posts: 482 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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I always thought that the reason for fireworks stands near the borders was to buy them and "smuggle" them into a state where it is illegal to purchase them. For example, let's just say, hypothetically, that fireworks are illegal to own in Pennsylvania. So, if the Amish wanted to ring in the new year, they could wagon train to Ohio, buy some fireworks and sneak them back in. I guess I had it wrong or maybe it does apply in some areas in addition to what was mentioned above.

Of course, when I grew up in South Carolina many years ago, it wasn't something we had to worry about. Firework stands were all over the place and it was okay to use anything short of hand grenades and ballistic missiles. [Big Grin]

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"Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself." - Hamlet

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Tori
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Door:
quote:
Originally posted by Paulie Jay:
Fireworks are illegal in Australia except in the ACT. The Australian Captital Territory - it's sort of like our version of District of Columbia - is the place where federal politics happen, and also the place where you can do almost anything (legal pot, legal prostitution, fireworks... it all makes up for the fact that Canberra is one of the most boring places on Earth).

...Not illegal in Tasmania - but you do need a permit. There's a store not 15 minutes drive from where I am now that can arrange the permit for a backyard display and sell me the fireworks for it...

- Bill Door

..also not illegal in the Northern Territory, another place where just about anything goes. [Smile]
Posts: 26 | From: Darwin, NT, Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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