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New petition to roll back Michigan's Firework law

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LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) -- Independence Day is is over, but the debate on setting off fireworks in your backyard is not.

There's a statewide push to repeal the Fireworks Safety Act of 2011 that allows you to purchase larger fireworks and light them on your private property.

Fireworks have long been an American tradition, but after several loud summers, some people want lawmakers to once again ban the sale of big fireworks, but not everyone is on board.

"Ninety percent of your Michigan residents enjoy fireworks and they enjoy them courteously with their neighbors,” said Jim Stajos, the President of Pro Fireworks.

Before the 2011 law passed, there was constant traffic to Indiana.

"My retail customers would drive down to Indiana and bring them across state lines,” said Stajos. “It was nonsense."

So he knew something had to change.

"I am the one who actually worked to change the law in Michigan," he said.

In 2011, Michigan lawmakers passed a law to allow year round sales of more powerful fireworks.

Since the law passed, Stajos opened multiple stores around the state.

Stajos says business is booming.

But there are firework frustrations.

Concerned for safety, State Rep. Henry Yanez wants to scrap Michigan's firework law.

“The law has completely gotten out of hand. It puts a lot of pressure on our municipalities, public safety, both police and fire. People are getting injured. People are literally getting killed,” said the Democratic lawmaker from Sterling Heights.

Recent statistics show firework deaths are the highest in 15 years.

"A lot of times we are seeing stuff that is home made and that's where a lot of the injuries come from," said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer.

But the state of Michigan is cashing in on legal firework sales.

"I believe there is $2 million in sales tax that goes to everything from schools and roads to revenue sharing,” said State Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge. “I would hate to see the money go to another state."

In 2016, the state raked in $18 million in taxes from fireworks.

Two million dollars went to fire fighter training.

Still, 35,000 people have signed a petition to nix the sale of fireworks.

“You could repeal the law, but the fireworks are not leaving at this point,” said Stajos.

If you want to sign the petition to ban firework sales, or if want to read the petition, visit here.

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