N.J. lawmakers look on bright side with proposal to legalize sparklers

 Children celebrate Fourth of July in Cincinnati last year. New Jersey lawmakers are considering allowing those 16 and older to buy and use sparklers. (AP file photo)

Children celebrate Fourth of July in Cincinnati last year. New Jersey lawmakers are considering allowing those 16 and older to buy and use sparklers. (AP file photo)

Future Independence Day celebrations could be brighter in New Jersey as lawmakers consider legislation that would permit those 16 and older to buy and possess sparklers.

Eric Turner, who represents the U.S. Fireworks Safety Commission, said the measure is a safe way for New Jersey residents to have a Fourth of July display in their own backyards.

“A sparkler burns about the same temperature as a blue-tip kitchen match,” he told Lawmakers Monday.  “If you touch a lit sparkler to your hand, it will burn. But, to the best of our knowledge, there has never been a death in the United States attributed to these products.”

The legislation would not allow explosive fireworks or those that shoot in the air, Turner said.

“We don’t have any intention of coming back in a year or two and saying, ‘OK, now that you’ve got sparklers, we want to go to this bigger stuff,” he said.

The New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology and the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association oppose the legislation.

Forty-seven other states already allow sparklers.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.