PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Bottle rockets, roman candles and mortars.

It is illegal to sell, buy or use them in Pennsylvania — illegal in fact for state residents to go out of state and get them.

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“Technically, they are criminals for going across the border and bring them back to Pennsylvania. We think that is absurd,” said State Sen. Don White of Pennsylvania.

Currently, the state only allows the sale and use of what can only be described as glorified sparklers — products that may look like a roman candle or an M-80, but disappoint those expecting a boom.

Sen. White is sponsoring a bill to legalize real ones, even though the news has been crowded lately with stories of professional football players losing fingers, and a young man in Maine who died from setting off a mortar on his head.

“You know, you can’t legislate stupid and I think that responsible people should have the option,” Sen. White said.

“I think it’s crazy. I think it’s ludicrous. I think it’s unsafe and unhealthy for the state of Pennsylvania,” said Peggy Lips of Pittsburgh.

The proposed legislation will face serious headwinds.

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While White says a 10 percent tax on the sales of fireworks will generate millions of dollars to fund volunteer fire departments and ambulances services, opponents like Lips say legalization is only going to make more work for first responders.

“What kind of money justifies this? Is it any body part — do you put it into a formula and say that’s why it makes sense to bring it into Pennsylvania?” Lips said.

And crowded urban areas like the city of Pittsburgh have long taken a hard line stance on the sale and use of anything that explodes or shoots fire balls in the air — conducting routine inspections of sales tents and issuing fines and citations to violators.

Sen. White says he has heard their concerns.

“The last thing they want is rockets going off on Forbes Avenue. So, that’s part of the deal that maybe we’ll exempt Pittsburgh. We’ll exempt Philadelphia,” Sen. White said.

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