Fireworks Shows May Fizzle Over Terrorism Rules

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They’re counted on by America’s small towns to provide “oohs” and “ahhs” on the Fourth of July: private clubs, family gatherings, community picnics and the like.

But this year, unless they’ve kept abreast of new federal anti-terrorism rules, the only fireworks going off at such events are the kind you can buy at a roadside stand.

Under the federal Safe Explosives Act, aimed at improving homeland security, people wishing to put on large fireworks displays as of May 24 must have a permit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That entails a background check, fingerprinting and personal interviews with ATF agents, a process that can take as much as three months.


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