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A04362 Summary:

COSPNSRLupardo, Zebrowski
Amd SS270.00 & 405.00, Pen L
Relates to offenses relating to possession or sale of fireworks, sparkling devices and ammunition.
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A04362 Actions:

02/03/2011referred to codes
05/10/2011amend and recommit to codes
05/10/2011print number 4362a
06/06/2011amend and recommit to codes
06/06/2011print number 4362b
06/17/2011amend (t) and recommit to codes
06/17/2011print number 4362c
06/20/2011reported referred to rules
06/20/2011rules report cal.547
06/20/2011ordered to third reading rules cal.547
06/21/2011passed assembly
06/21/2011delivered to senate
06/22/2011SUBSTITUTED FOR S4529D
06/22/20113RD READING CAL.1516
09/12/2011delivered to governor
09/23/2011vetoed memo.59
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A04362 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Morelle (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to offenses relating to possession or sale of fireworks, sparkling devices and ammu- nition   PURPOSE: This bill is intended to modernize the statute dealing with illegal fireworks, provide additional definitions of what constitutes fireworks and dangerous fireworks and take certain novelty devices, which are not recognized as fireworks by the federal government out of the definition of fireworks.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of this bill amends subdivisions 1, 2 and 3 of section 270.00 of the penal law to remove from its definition of "Fireworks" and "Dangerous Fireworks" sparkling devices, novelties, toy caps, and similar devices as defined by APA Standard 87-1, 2001 edition. Additionally this section provides definitions for "display fireworks", "articles pyrotechnic" and "special effects", all of which are included under the definition of "Fireworks." It also removes flares, sparkling devices and other novelties from the terms "fireworks" and "dangerous fireworks." The definitions of "fireworks" and "dangerous fireworks" remain unchanged and include sparkling devices in cities with a popu- lation of one million or more. Subdivision 2 creates the crime of unlawful sale of dangerous fireworks to a minor is amended to include the sale of fireworks, sparkling devices and novelties.   EXISTING LAW:; Section 270:00 of the penal law was derived from section 1844a of the Penal Law of 1909 which was enacted into law in 1940. In 1997 certain fireworks were reclassified as "dangerous fire- works". These fireworks are capable of causing serious physical injury and include torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles and bombs. Current law penalizes as a violation the possession or use of fireworks or dangerous fireworks, and penalizes as a class B misdemeanor the sale of fireworks or dangerous fireworks. Any person who sells fireworks or dangerous fireworks valued at $500 or more, or who sells dangerous fireworks to a minor, is guilty of a class R misdemeanor, Finally, any person who, within the past five years has previously been convicted of the sale of dangerous fireworks, is guilty of a class E felony.   JUSTIFICATION: The current law has not been used effectively in part because of poor definitions. Courts have thrown out indictments because of poor definitions of the term fireworks. This bill strengthens those definitions. In addition very few arrests and convictions have been obtained under the current statute. Since 1956, 63 convictions have been obtained Statewide. In 1999 and 2000 only five convictions were obtained. By modernizing the statute and clearly defining fireworks, dangerous fireworks and novelty devices, the bill will provide law enforcement with an important tool in reducing the use of illegal fireworks and homemade devices and encouraging the use of safe and legally regulated novelty devices. The amendments provide for technical changes to the definitions of "explosive composition" and "pyrotechnic composition," They also update the current definition of sparkler's as either wood stick or wire, and define handheld or ground based sparkling devices (also known as cone or cylindrical fountain sparklers) as a separate category of fireworks. The Consumer Products Safety Commission, hereinafter, CPSC, has outlawed sparkler's containing magnesium, so that definition is deleted and a definition of these devices based upon the weight of the pyrotechnic composition as used by both the CPSC and the United States Department of Transportation is substituted. Explosive or aerial sparkling devices are added to the list of dangerous fireworks and the provision making spark- lers more than ten inches in length or one-fourth of an inch in diameter is deleted, as these sparklers would now be judged by weight of pyro- technic composition, not length or size. Sparklers would still be defined as fireworks and still be banned with out an appropriate permit, assuming the weight requirement was met. To meet the concerns of the City of New York, the definition of novelty devices is subdivided into four separate categories and all novelty devices would still be deemed fireworks and prohibited by this legis- lation in cities with a population in excess of one million. In other areas of the state, possession and sale of these items would be permitted. A second category would include handheld and ground based sparkling devices which are non-explosive and non-aerial and which contain small amounts of pyrotechnic composition. This amended bill would permit these items to be possessed and sold in New York State. However, as to cities with a population of one million or more, these items would continue to be deemed "fireworks" and prohibited in such city by the provisions of this amendment. A third category would include toy pistols and toy caps which currently are not considered fireworks under the Penal Law. The last category of novelty devices includes trick noisemaker's, including party poppers, snappers and drop pops containing very small amounts of explosive compo- sition. It is believed these items, very similar to toy cap guns, are not covered by the current statute and their legal status statewide needs to be clarified. The amendment prohibits the sale of sparkling devices to minor's under the age of eighteen. Pursuant to the amendments, repeat sales to a minor of these items subjects the offender to felony prosecution.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A9006B of 2009-2010 - amend (t) and recommit to codes   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined. There will be considerable revenue from state sales tax.   LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Possible additional sales tax revenues. There will become law enforcement efficiency due to more clear defi- nition of terms.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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