GREAT FALLS, Va. - Fireworks and Fourth of July go hand in hand, but in Virginia, your options are limited if you are trying to set some off at your home. This year's Republican nominee for governor wants to change that.
Sparklers, fountains, pharaoh’s serpents, pinwheels, and whirligigs are all permitted in Virginia. However, fireworks such as firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes and others that explode, travel laterally, rise into the air or fire projectiles into the air, are prohibited.
Ed Gillespie, the Republican gubernatorial candidate for governor in Virginia takes issue with these options and has released a campaign advertisement addressing it.
As Va. governor, I will work to make fireworks legal here so we can celebrate 4th of July in true American fashion! pic.twitter.com/xvevts5RIs— Ed Gillespie (@EdWGillespie) June 30, 2017
“Here in Virginia, our fireworks are pretty rinky dink,” Gillespie said in the video. “But right across our border in West Virginia and Tennessee where I am now, our neighbors get to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks like these. In Virginia, we are missing out on being able to create thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue – not to mention having some fun.”
Gillespie goes on to explain that if he becomes governor, he will work to make more types of fireworks legal for adult individuals in Virginia. He says that Virginians would then "be free to celebrate Independence day in true American fashion."
Should more types of fireworks be legal in Virginia? 💥💥💥 Vote & weigh in! @fox5dc— Ronica Cleary 🇺🇸 (@RonicaCleary) July 3, 2017
Gillespie told FOX 5 that six other states have loosened restrictions on consumer grade fireworks over the past few years.
“In the six states where they have done this the past five years, there has not been a significant increase or noticeable increase in danger and there has been a lot of progress made in terms of fireworks safety over past decade," he said. "Secondly, I'm looking for every possible way we can to create jobs in Virginia. We've been stuck six straight years. Our economic growth rate last year under [Lt.] Governor [Ralph] Northam was [0.6 percent]. We were 39th out of 50 states in economic growth.”
However, there is mixed reaction from some people who sell the fireworks -- with the main concern surrounded around safety.
“It may increase the business, but then how safe is it if we allow it in the state?” said Lawan Taylor Thompson.
She manages a TNT Fireworks stand in Fairfax with her daughter.
“Fireworks are kind of quirky and they can be a little dangerous if unmonitored, but they can cause a lot of injuries and that is what we don't want in our community, especially with the children,” said Taylor Thompson.
“The explosive fireworks are the ones that move around,” said Fairfax County and Rescue battalion chief John Walser. “You are subject to injury and you could have a permanent disability if one of those goes off in your hand or close to your body … Fireworks are very unpredictable. You have to keep in mind they are explosives and every time you handle an explosive, you subject yourself to injury.”