Despite the legal sale of fireworks at places like Phantom Fireworks in Pennsylvania, many local communities across New York state — where larger fireworks are illegal — are filing an increased number of complaints about people setting them off anyway. It's sparking a strong warning to those taking them over the border.
"You bring that stuff in and that's where the problem ensues. It is illegal here. You are looking at a fine, you are looking at an arrest," said Trooper James O'Callaghan, New York State Police.
Trooper O'Callaghan says there's been a recent uptick in the number of illegal fireworks complaints and arrests, including a recent bust with Jamestown Police.
He says while COVID-19 has canceled many professional displays, people are taking matters into their own hands, setting them off around the clock, and scaring children and animals.
"That could be extremely frustrating. When you're lighting them off at 2, 3, you know, 1 in the morning, people are trying to sleep. That's where the part that becomes unacceptable comes into play," said O'Callaghan.
"This is the busiest I've ever seen it. We expect our customers, wherever the state they're from, to abide by their local laws," said Scott Weigle, Phantom Fireworks of Erie manager.
Weigle says business continues to skyrocket, as families look to safely celebrate the 4th of July.
He says the store is not responsible for policing its customers, as long as fireworks are legally purchased under their name and credit card registered on file.
"We just match the name to make sure it's the same person. You know, that's their decision. If they want to risk doing that, that's their decision," said Weigle.
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed State Police to prevent fireworks from entering the state.
"Fireworks companies within the state of Pennsylvania, and we're going to be focusing on that route for the transmission of the fireworks," said Cuomo.
"I don't think we're getting a bad rap," said Weigle.
Weigle and State Police say while smaller fireworks like sparklers are legal in New York, they're still dangerous enough to cause serious injury.
"Now you're looking at a lot more charges. You have to keep safety first. It sounds simple, but every year someone's going to the ER because a thousand-degree sparkler touches the skin of another kid, and that's a hospital trip," said O'Callaghan.
Guidance on fireworks: