COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A video urging people to celebrate safely this Independence Day weekend has been released by the Columbus Department of Public Safety.
The PSA stars Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant and Columbus Fire Chief Jeff Happ. The pair deliver a simple message reminding the public about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and how Ohio’s new fireworks’ law applies to the city of Columbus.
“We want you and your family to celebrate safely this holiday weekend,” begins Happ.
“Leave your valuables and your weapons at home,” adds Bryant. “And please don’t engage in celebratory gunfire. What goes up will come down and you have no control over what or who it might hit.”
Bryant’s sentiment is echoed in a report from ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection and alerting system used in Columbus, which reveals falling bullets are far more likely to inflict fatal wounds than those from a “typical shooting.” The company notes that hospital statistics “put deaths from regular shootings between 2% and 6%, while for those struck by falling bullets the death rate was close to one third.”
“Remember, in Columbus, consumer-grade fireworks are still illegal,” Happ reminds viewers who might be confused by how the state’s new rules apply in the city of Columbus. “The only items allowed are sparklers, snakes, smoke bombs and snaps.”
Ohio House Bill 172 was signed into law in November 2021, allowing for the use of consumer-grade fireworks throughout the state. However, that same bill allowed municipalities to institute their own bans.
Columbus City council — as well as other central Ohio governing bodies — passed ordinances prohibiting the use of consumer-grade fireworks, which are defined as having no more than 50 milligrams of flash powder for ground displays or 130 milligrams of flash powder for aerial displays.
“Let’s work together to make this a happy and safe holiday weekend,” the duo conclude in their timely message.