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Ed Gillespie plans to expand fireworks sales by next Fourth of July, if elected

(Courtesy: Ed for Virginia)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Republican gubernatorial nominee, Ed Gillespie, is proposing to let Virginians buy and use real fireworks by the July 4 holiday in 2018.

In a release, Gillespie writes that five states have legalized, or expanded upon, the sale of consumer fireworks since 2011 and no states have reversed or tightened their existing laws.

The legal sale of consumer fireworks would add millions annually in tax revenue, and thousands of jobs to our economy, he wrote.

Speaking about his plan, Gillespie noted that we need to be looking for any way we can grow our economy, create good jobs, and give Virginians more personal freedom along the way.

"As we approach the Fourth of July we know many Virginians will travel to Tennessee, West Virginia, South Carolina or other states to buy fireworks that they will safely use to celebrate our nation’s independence," he wrote. "We’re missing out on that sales tax revenue and thousands of jobs."

Gillespie said he can trust Virginians with the same liberties millions of other Americans now enjoy.

Right now, the law is that Virginians are limited to purchasing fireworks, such as sparklers, fountains, snakes, and other non-aerial fireworks.

Gillespie's proposal, which localities would be able to opt out of, would allow for the purchase of higher-grade, aerial fireworks, including bottle rockets, roman candles, and more.

The ‘Fireworks for Virginians’ Plan:

  • Allows the sale of “consumer” fireworks to Virginians age 18 or over
  • Provides an opt-out provision for localities that do not want them sold or used in their community
  • Includes safety and enforcement provisions in the Code of Virginia and Virginia Administrative Code to ensure essential safety measures are established
  • Work with firefighters to ensure safe and responsible measures are adopted
  • Require that the bill and corresponding safety provisions be implemented by July 1, 2018
  • As governor, Gillespie will work with the General Assembly on the specifics of the legislation to ensure safety and enforcement provisions are thoughtfully implemented and executed. Senator Bill Stanley, Senator Bryce Reeves and Senator
  • Dave Suetterlein have introduced legislation in recent years to legalize consumer fireworks. Gillespie will work with Senators Stanley, Reeves, Suetterlein and others to ensure a thoughtful measure is put before the General Assembly.

Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's press secretary sent a response saying:

"Dr. Northam likes fireworks as much as anyone, but he also wants to make sure you can afford health care in case you accidentally blow your hand off with one. We'd like to know if Ed believes the Republicans' healthcare plans will actually allow for that."

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