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Mentor votes to ban use of fireworks despite Ohio's new legalization

'It is a first-degree misdemeanor if you are cited for discharging fireworks.'

MENTOR, Ohio — Editor's note: Video in the player at the top of this story was originally published in a previous article on Nov. 8, 2021.

The city of Mentor has decided to prohibit the use of consumer-grade fireworks despite the state’s decision to legalize the activity on select days of the year starting next month.

Mentor City Council has voted to opt out of the legislation, which is an option for all municipalities throughout Ohio. That means that while it’s now legal to possess fireworks in Mentor, discharging them is still not permitted.

“The Mentor Police Department wants to remind everyone it is illegal to discharge/ignite fireworks in the city,” says Mentor Police Chief Ken Gunsch, “It is a first-degree misdemeanor if you are cited for discharging fireworks.”

RELATED: DeWine signs fireworks bill that allows use of fireworks on certain holidays

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation to legalize the use of consumer-grade fireworks late last year. The new law takes effect on July 1 – just in time for July 4 celebrations. That means consumer-grade fireworks may now legally be discharged in Ohio on the following days: 

  • New Year's Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • Juneteenth
  • July 3, 4 and 5 as well as the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday before and after July 4
  • Labor Day weekend
  • Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains
  • New Year's Eve

RELATED: Columbus, Worthington city councils vote to ban use of fireworks

Mentor city officials say the safety of their residents is the top priority.

“As much as fireworks are a huge part of our American heritage, it goes without saying that they are inherently dangerous,” Mentor Fire Chief Bob Searles said in a press release Wednesday morning. “Due to the legal status of consumer fireworks in our state, we have not seen the numbers of fires or injuries that other communities across the country suffer, but when we do see injuries from discharge of fireworks, they are usually life changing.”

Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on July 17, 2020.

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