Missouri bill would ban felons from selling fireworks

Monday, February 8, 2010 | 8:01 p.m. CST; updated 5:19 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 10, 2010

* Ground salutes, commonly known as "cherry bombs," will not be allowed in commercial fireworks displays under this bill. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported this information.

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill heard in committee Monday would prohibit felons from commercially using fireworks.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville, would prohibit anyone guilty of a felony or anyone without proof of liability insurance from getting a permit to sell, make or ship fireworks. It would also allow the state fire marshal to examine sales records to make sure businesses buy and sell only from those with a permit.

Permits cannot be issued to anyone under the age of 18.

During the Financial Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee meeting, Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville, said she's worried the higher scrutiny and regulations would be a burden on commercial sellers, especially those who rely on fireworks sales through the entire year. She said some fireworks sellers could be driven out of business solely based on what they sell.

"I don't think we do it with any other business," she said at the hearing.

State Fire Marshall Randy Cole testified on behalf of the bill, saying his department has reached out to the industry to make sure no businesses are harmed.*

Most of the state's regulations on the sale of fireworks are based on federal statutes and U.S. Department of Transportation rules.

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