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Bottle rockets no longer on the shelves

By Staff | Jun 28, 2010

Bottle rockets, a favorite among fireworks enthusiasts, was noticeably missing on the shelves of fireworks stands set up in Rugby and elsewhere across North Dakota last week.

A new law, which went into effect last August, prohibits the sale of this particular firework.

“We’ve had a number of customers ask about them,’ said Kassie Brorby, whose family set up a Black Cat fireworks stand in Rugby. “They were surprised to learn they no longer could be sold.”

The state legislature passed a law in early 2009 banning the sale of bottle rockets, citing safety as its main concern. The firework projectile is very dangerous and every year causes series injuries, especially to children.

Bottle rockets are relatively cheap, and that is one of is appealing factors. “For $5, a boy could buy a lot of them,’ Brorby said.

Across town, Jessica Diebold, also had a number of customers last week inquire about bottle rockets.

“They didn’t know about the new law,’ said Diebold, who was running her family’s Black Powder fireworks stand. “Others asked if they were still legal to set off.”

While the new law prohibits the sale of them, they still can legally be set off. And last year many customers who knew the law would take effect soon, bought fireworks stands out of bottle rockets knowing they wouldn’t be on the shelves this year.

RoJean Wentz, of Rugby Discount Fireworks, said many customers asked: where the bottle rockets were?

A group of large fireworks stand operators in the state this spring began an effort to change the new law to allow bottle rockets to be sold to people 17 and older.

A contention by the group is why can bottle rockets be set off, but cannot be sold by license suppliers? And why are these fireworks being singled out?

The group filed a veto referendum with the state and would need to get about 12,000 signatures by August in order to put the issue before voters in November.

Fireworks went on sale on June 27 and someone must be at least 12 years of age to purchase them. Local license sellers expected business to really pick up by the end of the week in time for the Fourth of July holiday. The last day residents can set off fireworks is this Monday, June 5.

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