YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WJW) – Weeks ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Phantom Fireworks is recommending that people buy their fireworks early due to a possible shortage — at least in the states where it’s legal.
The country’s top consumer fireworks retailer says supply chains are slow due to global shipments.
“Like many other industries, the fireworks industry has also experienced delays due to shipment challenges facing the global market,” said Alan L. Zoldan, Phantom executive vice president.
Personal fireworks sales in 2020 surged to record rates industry-wide, including at Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, according to a press release.
The company says this year’s Independence Day is showing similar momentum, especially as President Joe Biden is encouraging nationwide celebrations to mark the country’s effective return to normalcy after 16 months of coronavirus pandemic disruption.
Biden has raised the possibility of beginning to “mark our independence from this virus” by the Fourth of July, though the U.S. is expected to fall short of its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by the holiday.
Where are fireworks illegal?
Consumer fireworks can be purchased in some form in 46 states and the District of Columbia, but restrictions vary depending on the state, according to Reader’s Digest.
Massachusetts is the only state that completely bans all consumer fireworks, though they do allow professionals to put on firework displays. Three states — Ohio, Illinois, and Vermont — have very strict fireworks laws, only allowing wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items, Reader’s Digest reported.
Early this month, Ohio’s Senate passed a bill to loosen its fireworks laws. Currently, Ohioans are not allowed to set off fireworks.
The following states allow most consumer fireworks: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia allow the sale and use of non-aerial and non-explosive fireworks. The states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Despite restrictions in some areas, Phantom Fireworks says there is high demand, and it’s responded with additional hiring and store openings.
“The good news is that we prepared early in anticipation of high demand again this year and are encouraging Phantom customers to do the same,” Zoldan said. “We are always excited to be a big part of America’s favorite holiday, the Fourth of July, especially meaningful following the 2020 pandemic summer.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.