State Court Fizzles Fireworks at Pop-up Tents

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. -- A state court has fizzled sales of fireworks -- the kind that shoot into the sky -- at pop-up tents across Pennsylvania.

We all know those firework tents that have been in big parking lots like one along Route 590 in Wayne County. This was the first year they and licensed stores could sell big fireworks to in-state residents.

But a recent court decision means the tents can't sell the bigger boomers anymore.

Inside Hamlin Fireworks, Ray Lamonica is just learning of the Commonwealth Court decision this week meaning fireworks tents aren't able to sell ground-to-sky fireworks.

"The fact that they're finally recognizing that these brick and mortar stores have to put out a lot of effort and a lot of money and they have to go through rigorous inspections and everything else. It's a big win-win for us," Lamonica said.

A big part of Lamonica's store near Hamlin was finally open to Pennsylvania residents to pick out larger fireworks this Fourth of July. But a new law also allowed for fireworks tents to sell the same costly, bigger displays to people in the state for the first time without the same regulations Lamonica and other brick and mortars faced.

"For a small store like mine, we had to pay $10,000, plus insurance, plus burglar alarms, exits. These tents didn't have anything like that," said Lamonica.

Over the years, fireworks tents have been able to set up in parking lots.

The most recent law on the books allowed the tents and brick and mortar stores to sell bigger fireworks to in-state residents.

Recently, that court decision found the fireworks tents could not be determined to be safe in any way, shape, or form by the state.

"Being that the new ruling will spell out what we already knew is that these tents were dangerous and unlawful. It's a win-win for us," he said.

The court's decision does more than keep tents from selling large fireworks but might save Hamlin Fireworks from losing to what Lamonica considers "unfair competition."

It sounds to me like we'll be able to survive. We've been here 18 years, (and) weren't looking forward to going out of business," Lamonica added.

The court's decision can be appealed to a higher court.

Now Lamonica is focusing on the first New Year's Eve fireworks sales open to residents of Pennsylvania.


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