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Fireworks laws differ in W.Va./Ohio

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- Fireworks can be dangerous -- and against the law -- depending on where you're setting them off.
There's a very big difference in the law depending on what part of the valley you're in. Here's what you need to know before you spend a lot of cash on fireworks you can't use.
"In the state of Ohio, sparklers are legal and that's pretty much the only thing legal in the state of Ohio," Pastor Bill Thompson said.
Thompson has been selling fireworks for 10 years in Ohio, but just across the state line into West Virginia, the laws are much different.
"West Virginia, you can have what's called safe and sane class, they shoot sparks and different colors and different noise effects and can't physically leave the ground like an M80 or a mortar," Thompson said.
But don't think buying fireworks is as easy as checking out groceries. Here are W.Va. firework safety rules and regulations:
No ground-based sparkling device sales or distribution to persons under 16 years old. Photo ID required.
Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by, and under the supervision of a responsible person at least 18 years old.
No smoking or open flame within 50 feet.
No ground based sparkling device discharges within 100 feet.
"In Ohio, you can buy fireworks but they take a copy of your driver's license and you have to sign that you are taking them out of the state within 48 hours," Thompson said.
Authorities are keeping an eye out for people buying them illegally and have the right to remove the fireworks from you.
"We have had situations where troopers were watching who came across the bridge from Ohio and pulling them over and taking their fireworks," Thompson said.
Police can also hit you with a thousand dollar fine and up to six months in jail. That's just for the first offense. After that, it's a felony in Ohio.
So know the law and be safe however you celebrate Independence Day.

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