Somewhat ironically the sounds of fireworks could explode Pennsylvania's fireworks law.
"People are not making wise decisions in detonating these devices," said Democratic State Sen. Judy Schwank.
Schwank was part of the State Senate and House Agriculture & Rural Affairs committees' joint hearing on the 2017 law, which let residents buy consumer grade fireworks. Included was testimony from local government, law enforcement, and firework industry officials.
"I'm willing to do a complete repeal or a substantial rewrite," said Republican State Sen. David Argall.
Argall says there's been too many terrible experiences.
"Fireworks affect densely populated neighborhoods, our veterans, our pets and our homes," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
Delaney is also the President of the Career Fire Chiefs Association. He was one of several people who testified at the hearing.
He wants the law to be amended to include better local regulation, an increase in the distance of where a firework can be detonated from 150 feet of an occupied structure to 500 feet. He also wants to see fines go from $100 to $1,000. He also says mandated reporting of firework incidents are a must, adding a statewide data base of accidents, arrests and complaints is needed for better enforcement.
All agreed better enforcement is needed. This includes Danial Peart, the Director of Government Affairs for Phantom Fireworks. He says the industry is okay with limiting the days fireworks can be used.
"If we can corral the areas where we know it's going to happen, therefore you're not spread out through the year," he said of law enforcement trying to police it.
He adds municipalities need to do a better job at educating people. Peart says educational pamphlets are in all the aisles at his stores, and employees explain the laws, but says customers quickly lose interest.
The question of how municipalities would pay for increased enforcement and education came up repeatedly. Delaney said some state money generated from the sales of fireworks should go toward that and to police and fire agencies.
The committee is expected to meet again in January, with a vote on the law possible by spring or summer.