Sciencemadness Discussion Board

The end of Hobby Pyrotechnics!

psychokitty - 24-1-2005 at 18:32


If you are a fireworks maker, and if you don't ever read another thing
from us
at Skylighter, read this one newsletter right now. It is absolutely

This is not our usual newsletter. There is nothing for sale; no special
offers; nothing new; no projects. Rather, it is about the most serious
threat to hobby fireworks makers that you and I have ever faced. Put
simply, it is quite possible you may never be able to make fireworks
again in the US. Read this to find out what you can do to help.

Even if you are not a fireworks maker, but are a buyer of sparklers or
consumer fireworks, I urge you to read this as well. You too should be
vitally concerned. It is not at all inconceivable that eventually our
ability to buy and use consumer fireworks in this country may come to a
screeching halt. Even your ability to shoot a simple backyard show on
July 4th could be seriously reduced by the CPSC's proposed limits on
the sale of any fuse to you to 25 feet per year.

What this article is about is a litigation being brought by the US
Consumer Products Safety Commission against a competitor of ours, Firefox.
It constitutes the most serious threat to amateur fireworks making and
using that I believe this country has ever faced. This legal action,
if won by the government, could quite easily result in these

- Pyrotechnic chemicals and supplies vendors would disappear
- Your ability to make fireworks would grind to a halt once your
supplies run out
- The Pyrotechnic Guild International would either disappear or be
reduced to a place to shoot consumer fireworks once a year
- The regional US fireworks clubs would disappear
- Amateur rocketry manufacture would probably disappear
- Various booksellers, newsletter publishers, and other pyrotechnic
related vendors would fold

I am not exaggerating this problem. If you know me, you know that I am
not given to sensationalism or hyperbole in these sorts of situations.

If these consequences concern you, I urge you to read this newsletter
right now. Time is of the essence.

The following article was crafted largely by Tom Handel, Vice President
of the Pyrotechnics Guild International. It was previous published in
American Fireworks News.

Harry Gilliam
Skylighter, Inc.



A serious situation, which has been developing over the past year, has
now reached a stage where action by - and a specific response from -
our community of hobbyist pyros is necessary. In our considered opinion,
this Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) initiative constitutes
the single greatest threat to amateur pyrotechnic manufacture in the
United States that we have ever faced. It is an action that could well,
for all practical purposes, end hobbyist pyrotechnics, as we currently
know it.

The facts

On Monday, 29 November 2004, the United States CPSC served Gary and
Diane Purrington of Firefox, an Idaho based supplier of pyrotechnic
chemicals and supplies to the hobbyist community, with a Complaint for
Injunction, the terms of which demand certain constraints on Firefox's sales
of pyrotechnic chemicals. The details are below, but in summary, it
forbids or very severely limits sale of all common oxidizers and many
common pyrotechnic fuels to anyone who does not hold a manufacturing
license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

A few days later we had our winter Crackerjacks (a mid-Atlantic
fireworks club) meeting. John Steinberg (three-times past President of the
Pyrotechnics Guild International ( and I had the
pleasure to spend the day and dinner in the company of a group of pyro
friends from all over the country, as well as numerous Crackerjacks. The
CPSC suit and related issues were frequent topics of discussion
throughout the day. In conversation it came up that Harry Gilliam had, earlier
that day, informed John Steinberg that another pyro chemicals and
supplies dealer in the east had already signed a CPSC consent decree. As a
direct result, it was alleged, this Eastern dealer is very likely to go
out of business.

The next day I went to their web site and had a look for myself. It
would appear they are still in business, but the pattern of chemicals,
which they now no longer sell (e.g., any aluminum suitable for flash) and
those that are "out of stock" bears an eerie resemblance to the CPSC
list from the Firefox injunction as quoted below. The correspondence is
not perfect, but it's close.

The next shoe fell about 9:00 AM on Tuesday, 14 December when Harry
Gilliam at Skylighter received an un-announced visit from two
representatives of the CPSC. They spent about five hours with him, asking lots of
questions about "flash kits" and "boomers," and going through several
boxes of Skylighter's sales records. They made copies of some materials
to take away with them for further study (or evidence).

What does all this mean to you?

This is clearly a disaster for Firefox, but even more importantly, you
may be one of the legion of non-federally-licensed hobbyist pyros out
there legally manufacturing fireworks of various types who will be
severely affected if the CPSC is successful. Here's how it works.

'Spose I'm a whistle rocket fanatic and I am not federally licensed.
Assuming I'm over the age of 21 and can prove it, right now I can go to
my friendly neighborhood Skylighter or Firefox and legally buy the
makings of my whistle mix. I can get as much potassium benzoate, sodium
salicylate, red iron oxide, potassium perchlorate, (and anything else I
need) as my pyro appetite requires and my pyro budget will allow. I can
legally preprocess these materials - mill, screen, weigh, and to a
limited extent mix (so long as oxidizers and fuels remain separate and no
pyrotechnically live material is created) - in my garage or basement or
back yard. I can legally transport these materials to the site of a
federally licensed manufacturer (say, the PGI or a regional club). Given
appropriate permission from the licensee, I can then, under his
license, legally mix my pre-processed materials to create my whistle mix, a
pyrotechnically live composition (an explosive, if so defined). I can
legally press my whistle rockets and fly them to my heart's content
(given the licensee/club has the appropriate shooting permits).

Now lets look at this scenario (and it is only one of many possible)
after the CPSC action. Most of it remains the same, but the critical
first step, acquisition of the raw materials to pursue my hobby, has been
rendered impossible. Firefox can only sell me one pound of potassium
perchlorate, potassium benzoate and sodium salicylate per year. That
isn't many four- pound whistle rockets. Fortunately, the CPSC will still
permit them to sell me unlimited quantities of red iron oxide. (That's
rust.) (That's a joke.) Even with all the things I can still legally
do - processing and transporting materials, creating whistle mix at a
licensed manufacturer's facility, building and shooting rockets - it is
all for nothing since I cannot legally acquire enough of the necessary
raw materials any more.

"So," you say, "too bad for Firefox, but ring up old Harry at
Skylighter and get your materials from him instead. Or maybe that other mail
order outfit in Pennsylvania."

Well, that other outfit seems to be "out of stock" on potassium
perchlorate (as well as many other things). And Skylighter, well, that works
for now, but the CPSC has already visited him, and given their
historical, well-documented and unrelenting war on anything having to do with
fireworks, it is, in our considered opinion, inevitable that Harry will
not be far behind Firefox and the other outfit if the CPSC is
successful. Armed with the precedents established with Firefox (and perhaps the
other outfit), they will force Skylighter to accede to the same

But it gets much worse. Firefox has said (and I believe) that
imposition of these restrictions will drive them out of the
pyro-chemicals-in-hobbyist- quantities business. There is not enough business available
from BATFE- licensed hobbyist manufacturers, to whom they can still sell
legally, to keep them afloat. (Non-hobbyist manufacturers don't buy
from Firefox - they go to Hummel-Croton or Service Chemical and buy their
chemicals by the drum and pallet, not the pound.) The same argument
will apply to the other outfit (perhaps already has) and Skylighter in
turn, and the result will be that there are no longer any suppliers of
any pyro chemicals in hobbyist quantities. Even though someone could
legally sell me a pound of potassium perchlorate and sodium salicylate a
year, there will be no one in business any more who will do so. Though
oxidizers and metals will be the big problem, we'll be back to combing
the drug store shelves and garden shops even for such mundane materials
as sulfur.

"So," you say, "let's all just go get federally licensed and solve the
problem that way."

It won't happen. Those in our community who are not now federally
licensed (the vast majority - most of Firefox's customers) are casual
pyrotechnists who do not currently require a federal license to legally
pursue their hobby (see above). For them the hassles (e.g.,
storage/magazines/inspections/logs), expense and difficulty of acquiring and
maintaining a federal license are either impossible to deal with or simply not
worth it. The ranks of hobbyists will diminish, and the market for
even the chemicals that Firefox could still legally sell will diminish
even more.

In a cruel example of a feedback mechanism, the foreseeable
unavailability of any pyro chemicals in hobbyist quantities from anywhere acts as
an additional deterrent to those currently unlicensed hobbyists who
might decide to pursue licensure. Why bother if there won't be any
vendors out there to sell you your chemicals and supplies anyway?

In a final double-reverse-whammy-gotcha, (pointed out to me by one of
my colleagues in the Florida club) those few remaining hobbyists left
standing once the dust from the CPSC assault on our vendors settles will
soon find themselves without any licensed, permitted, and insured
events left at which they can make and shoot the things they like to
manufacture, even if they can find a way to get the chemicals and supplies.
This is because pyro club members, unable to pursue their hobby any
longer, will quit the pyro clubs in droves. Without their dues revenues how
do the pyro clubs meet the exorbitant cost of insurance and other

Pretty picture, eh? This is our future if we don't act.

What is being done?

This must be stopped now. This is not about Firefox; it is about the
survival of our hobby. But Firefox is the proverbial canary in the
coalmine. If they fall, the likely path from there is all too clear. A
legal team, John Brooke and Doug Mawhorr of Muncie, Indiana (specialists
in fireworks law and regulation), has been assembled, and they have
been asked by the Purringtons at Firefox to notify the CPSC that the case
will proceed to litigation. Doug Mawhorr has provided an initial
review and opinion of the legal ramifications of this case, which is printed

What is needed now is money to support their defense and perhaps
ultimately the defense of our other vendors. No matter what happens from
here on out, the one incontestably useful thing we can do now is to
accumulate as large a war chest as possible. Whether the case proceeds to
litigation, which seems very likely, or settles, competent legal
representation and hired expert help are both indispensable and expensive. It
remains remotely possible that the accumulation of a truly huge war
chest (like multiple six figures) on our part could help prompt the CPSC
to negotiate a settlement. If this case does proceed to litigation, the
legal fees will skyrocket. Summary: Building the war chest is the
most constructive thing we can do right now and it will be needed in
almost any conceivable scenario.

The PGI has contributed $7,500.00 to date to the defense of this case,
and the PGI Board has a motion before it as we speak for an additional
legal defense grant of $5,000.00 for this matter. The Fireworks
Foundation has donated $1,500.00 to date, with another $1,500.00 virtually
assured, and has established a "Chemical Defense Fund" so that
contributions to the Fireworks Foundation can be earmarked for the defense of
this case. Firefox itself has already expended considerable amounts of
time and money in this effort and is preparing to spend yet more.
Skylighter and others suppliers are being mobilized. Regional clubs are
receiving the call to arms and several have already made generous
donations. I personally challenged my fellow PGII officers and John Steinberg
with a matching donation. I promised to match whatever they put up
personally by New Years up to an aggregate total of $500.00, and I'm
delighted to say I sent in my full $500.00 donation last week. We're all in
this together, and we will sink or swim as one. It is time for amateur
pyrotechnists to stand up and be counted.

We ask your help in this. We know the less-than-encouraging financial
situation that many find themselves in right now, but considering the
stakes, I encourage your consideration of a considerable contribution to
the Fireworks Foundation/Chemical Defense Fund. In addition I would
appreciate your help in raising funds in any other way you can devise.

The Fireworks Foundation is actively and centrally involved in this
case. Indeed, its very existence is all that allows us to immediately
have at our disposal a conduit for raising funds and disbursing them as
required. Not only has the Foundation made a total of $3,000.00 in direct
contributions, but through the hard work and efforts of its Trustees,
all the resources that can be brought to bear in this fight are being
mustered. Without the Foundation, no means to coordinate a financial
effort of this magnitude would exist. Thanks to the Fireworks Foundation,
a legally secure means to receive the moneys, a tax deduction
opportunity for donors, and a secure means to control, maintain, and disburse
funds is at our disposal. This is what the Foundation was created to do
and it is doing it well and responding admirably.

Any individual or organization can write a check in any amount they can
afford to The Fireworks Foundation. Since the Fireworks Foundation is
a 501.c (3) [non-profit Federal tax status], your contribution is tax
deductible so long as you do not DIRECT the Foundation on how to use the
monies. If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, you may
write on your check (in the Memo section) "For the Chemical Defense
Fund or other purposes as required." That way you are not strictly
telling the Foundation how to use the money. If you don't care about tax
deductibility, you can write (in the Memo section) "For the Chemical
Defense Fund" in which case the Foundation will be bound to use your money
for that purpose.

Checks should be payable to "The Fireworks Foundation" and mailed to:

Mike Swisher, Treasurer-Fireworks Foundation, 14511 Olinda Blvd., N.
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082

As an alternative, the Fireworks Foundation web site at has provisions for making donations
online using your credit card, electronic checks, and PayPal.

Thank you for listening and considering.

Details of CPSC Injunction against Firefox

The CPSC Injunction against Firefox would require them to:

"Not sell, give away, or otherwise distribute any chlorate compound,
magnesium metal, permanganate compound, peroxide compound, zirconium
metal, or any chemical listed at 16 C.F.R. ยง 1507.2 to any recipient who
does not possess a valid manufacturing license for explosives issued by
the ATF;

Not sell, give away or otherwise distribute any of the following
chemicals for which the particle size is finer than 100 mesh (or particles
less than 150 microns in size) to any recipient who does not possess a
valid manufacturing license for explosives issued by the ATF: aluminum
and aluminum alloys, magnalium metal, magnesium/aluminum alloys, titanium
and titanium alloys, or zinc metal;

Not sell, give away or otherwise distribute any of the following
chemicals in an amount greater than one pound per year per recipient to any
recipient who does not possess a valid manufacturing license for
explosives issued by the ATF: antimony and antimony compounds, benzoate
compounds, nitrate compounds, perchlorate compounds, salicylate compounds or

Not sell, give away or otherwise distribute any fuse in an amount
greater than 25 feet per year per recipient who does not possess a valid
manufacturing license for explosives issued by the ATF."

In addition, the injunction requires extensive record keeping
(photocopies of drivers licenses and, if applicable, ATF licenses for all
recipients, as well as detailed invoices maintained for at least seven years)
and requires Firefox's agreement to provide those records to CPSC at
any time on demand.

Legal Environment Surrounding the Injunction against Firefox By Doug

By now I will assume that most pyros have heard about the Consumer
Product Safety Commission's ("CPSC";) civil lawsuit against Firefox
Enterprises, Inc. I want to address a few legal aspects of this matter to
answer the many questions I have fielded and many of the readers probably
have themselves.

For those of you who do not know, there is a difference between the
BATFE and the CPSC. Firefox is not regulated by the BATFE. The basis is
explained here. First, BATFE regulations and the Explosives Control
Act deal only with the commerce and storage of explosives. The
definition of an explosive includes anything on the Explosives list published by
the BATFE. Nothing that Firefox sells is found on the Explosives
List, absolutely nothing.

Second, nothing Firefox sells meets the definition of an explosive.
For an item to meet the definition of an explosive, it MUST be either: 1)
a chemical compound, 2) a chemical mixture or 3) a device of which the
primary or common purpose is to function by explosion (or to explode).
Firefox merely sells individual chemicals that can be combined to make
an explosive. But the items Firefox sells are not explosives,
explosive materials or found on the explosives list.

Therefore, because Firefox is not in the business of distributing
explosives or explosive materials, the BATFE does not regulate Firefox.
Firefox does not need a BATFE permit or license to operate its business.

The CPSC was created by Congress to reduce or eliminate injuries to
consumers caused by dangerous/hazardous products. Now with that said, how
does the CPSC feel they can regulate Firefox? That answer is found in
three sources. The first source is the Federal Hazardous Substance Act
(FHSA). The FHSA is found at 15 U.S.C. 1261 et seq. The second source
is the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPS Act). The CPS Act can be found
at 15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq. The third source is the regulations of the
CPSC. The specific regulations (as the CPSC has thousands) are found
at 16 C.F.R. 1500 and 1507. The CPSC claims its ability to regulate
Firefox derives from these statutes and regulations.

I will not take the time and length to provide the CPSC view of their
authority and my critique. But there are, in my view and opinion,
serious flaws in the CPSC logic and interpretation of the FHSA and its
regulations. Unfortunately, our system of laws is set up so that an
agency's own interpretation of its regulations is valid unless you show it to
be otherwise. You do that by convincing a court that the agency's
interpretation is arbitrary, capricious or without authority.

Here is my interpretation of the CPSC authority and basis for
regulating pyrotechnic chemicals. First, the CPS Act and FHSA provide the CPSC
the authority to regulate certain hazardous products that are a danger
to consumers. Second, the FHSA defines a banned hazardous substance.
Third, FHSA allows the CPSC to declare other hazardous substances to be
banned hazardous substances. Fourth, the FHSA and Regulations instruct
that certain consumer fireworks are exempt from the regulations. Fifth,
Regulations of the CPSC (Regs) declare certain non-consumer fireworks
("Illegal Fireworks";) to be banned hazardous substances. Sixth, the
Regs also declare the components and kits known or intended to produce
Illegal Fireworks to be banned hazardous substances. As I interpret the
federal statutes (CPS Act and FHSA) and the Regs, the CPSC is trying to
enforce the statutes and Regs where they have no authority to so act.
The CPSC is attempting to regulate where no authority to regulate
exists. Finally, the CPS Act, FHSA and the Regs allow for the legal
manufacture, possession and use of fireworks (even those made with a
metal powder fuel and strong oxidizer) as long as certain limitations of
composition amounts are followed.

You can review the FHSA and the CPSC regulations I have cited and draw
your own conclusions as to what the CPSC can and cannot do. As for
supporting the "cause" of Firefox, this is not just about Firefox.
Whether you want to believe it or not, this is about the hobbyist pyrotechnic
industry. The hobbyist pyrotechnic industry includes: fireworks,
rocketry (firework and experimental), chemistry, black powder users
(cannoneers, and self loaders that make their own), and anyone else who cannot
buy direct from the chemical manufacturers. The CPSC has targeted
chemical suppliers for years. I have personally spoken to CPSC personnel
and they have told me such. They will call chemical vendors to try to
order and purchase "kits" and they have done so. Finally, as you look
at the Regs, they allow for the manufacture of items that contain
aluminum and perchlorate as long as they are not larger than either 50 mg or
130 mg. So for the CPSC to attempt to ban the components of any and
fireworks, when it is not illegal to have smaller versions, is
arbitrary, capricious and not supported by fact or law.


In closing, from Harry Gilliam

So here's the deal. Firefox is a competitor of Skylighter's. But a
friendly competitor. This is a microscopic industry. We all talk to
each other; we all help each other out in various ways. We have for
years. I know Gary and Diane Purrington. They are friends of mine. We go
way back. They have been in this business longer than I have. Gary
knows more about Federal regulations regarding sale, transport, storage,
and manufacture of fireworks than anyone I know. He is not stupid. He
is not greedy. He is not, to my knowledge, a willful law-breaker.
Quite the contrary: on more than one occasion, when I was first getting
started with Skylighter, it was Gary who would contact me and point out
something we were doing which might not have been legally or
regulatorily kosher. He was showing me how to be in compliance and how to stay
out of trouble.

But now Gary finds himself with a legal action being brought against
him in Federal court. Federal Court. Let that sink in for a minute.
Federal Court, with all of its mighty resources. This action, should the
government succeed, will absolutely put Firefox right out of business.
Guaranteed. And this action, if the government succeeds, will set a
precedent, which can then be applied, to all other vendors. And then
there will be no more pyro supplies vendors. Because chemical sales are
the backbone of the whole fireworks making hobby. Choke off the
chemicals, and every other vendor connected with hobbyists will be gone. And
so will go the clubs.

And that is why we must win this case. And to win this case is going
to take many, many, many thousands of dollars. Your dollars. I can't
afford the legal fees, and I think we're bigger than Firefox. Firefox
can't afford the fees. Our businesses are just too small, too lean to
be able to foot the bill on our own. So, my good customers, it is going
to be up to you folks. You are gonna have to pay if you wanna stay in
the fireworks game. It will be only through your generosity that we
can all support the Firefox legal case. Please give as generously as you

Finally, a special request. It would be a huge help to us here at
Skylighter and at Firefox if you can refrain from calling us with your
concerns and questions about the case.

The good folks at both companies have been swamped with calls and
questions. We simply don't have the hours in the day to handle all of your
calls about this case. I know, I know. Here I am asking you to give
money, and on the other asking you not to talk to me about it. But,
honestly, both companies are very small, and everybody here has about two
jobs to do every day, even without the legal fight looming.

If you have read this special newsletter, you now know as much about
this case as I do. And as I get more information, I will continue to
publish it, and keep you up to date.

Last, but not least, the question I am asked most often: "Should I
stock up? If supplies are going to go away, should I buy as much as I can
right now and build up a supply?" Honestly, I can't answer that. On
one hand, the answer is obvious. But on the other, if we win this
case-and I firmly believe we can-then you may not need to stock up. You'll
have to make your own decisions on stocking up.

Thank you for reading this. I am sorry it is not my usual light and
cheerful hucksterism. But if we all pull together, I am convinced we can
help Firefox to win.

Tired of reading yet? Well, quit readin' and go out and LIGHT

Harry Gilliam -- Chief Cook & Bottle Washer
Skylighter, Inc.

chemoleo - 24-1-2005 at 19:29

On the one hand, good old skylighter might be making lot of money with this announcement before packing in. If they are successful to stop the proposed laws, they will still be making lots of money becuase worried people will still be 'stocking up'.
It's a win-win situation for skylighter here...

On the other hand, you are fortunate anyways! In most countries in the world you couldn't buy pyrotechnic chemicals legally, without some kind of licence.
It's surprising anyway that the sale of such chemicals is allowed, considering the paranoia and fear of 'terrorists' abusing it.
It really does surprise me that these things haven't been banned a LONG time ago already.
Good luck regardless :)

rift valley - 24-1-2005 at 19:59 stopped selling chemicals to individuals on the first of this month, I wonder if it was caused by pressure from the gov? I turned 18 this month, I could legally buy a .50 cal. rifle, a gun that is capable of penetrating an APC, but if this law passes I wouldn't be able to buy a pound of 200 mesh aluminum? Wow, something is wrong with this picture.

Quantum - 24-1-2005 at 20:25

Well this is of course bad but they may have started something they don't want to finnish!

Perhaps pure pyro people will start to turn to HEs - and this banning of pyro chems,while bad, does nothing to prevent people from making HEs and deting them with ematches

Thank you CPSC for pushing everyone into making explosives instead of flash powder - dumbasses

Polverone - 24-1-2005 at 22:02

I hardly need to point out that even non-pyro hobby chemists are affected by this action. They want to ban the sale/transfer of permanganates, chlorates, peroxides, magnesium, and zirconium. The enhanced record-keeping requirements might end sales to individuals of aluminum, titanium, and zinc in powder, granule, or fine shot form. Antimony and its compounds, benzoates, nitrates, salicylates and sulfur could suffer the same fate. What's not clear is how far they will carry this. I think they would face an extremely uphill battle trying to regulate the ubiquitous agricultural nitrate and sulfur sales, but it might become very difficult to buy strontium or bismuth nitrate. Would they go after sales of food-use benzoates?

Fuck the CPSC and the horse they rode in on. It's too bad the NRA distances itself from pyrotechnics, given their superior money/lobby power and related interests.

This action isn't really targeted at hobbyists, from what I understand of discussion on rec.pyrotechnics. The CPSC probably doesn't care about the tiny number of pyro enthusiasts who will begin making organic peroxides when the aluminum powder disappears. This is their heavy-handed attempt to clamp down on the manufacture and sale of bootleg salutes. It happens to affect a lot more people than the salute salesmen, but maybe not enough people to actually stop the CPSC.


MadHatter - 25-1-2005 at 09:24

So, the U.S. government wankers are at it again ! If the government hadn't outlawed
the M-80s, ashcans, and blockbusters in 1962, there wouldn't be a problem ! All in the
name of protecting the children. Where have we heard this shit before ? I had a lot of fun
with fireworks in my youth and still have all 10 fingers and both eyes. My hearing may
have suffered a little but what the hell - I ENJOYED IT !

The fact is I make my own chlorates, perchlorates, aluminum and magnesium powders.
But this option, probably due to startup costs, is not readily available to everybody.

Visco fuse. 25 feet a year ? Is that a fucking joke ? I'm on my 2nd roll of visco. I buy
1000 feet at a time. I'm going to buy a 5000 foot roll on my next purchase. Eat shit

Those idiots must really want all us pyro lovers to turn to HEs ! Imagine the illegal salute
makers using HEs instead of flashpowder with all the inherent dangers.

P.S. Just ordered that 5000 foot roll ! 200 year supply by their calculations. Guess I'll
have leave the excess in my will.

[Edited on 25-1-2005 by MadHatter]

Theoretic - 25-1-2005 at 14:21

Yup, the US government is now trying to look responsible and protecting its citizens. Now they'll get the media to show footage of amateur pyrotechnics gone pear-shaped to hold up their case.

"Fuck the CPSC and the horse they rode in on."

Was that taken from Michael Moore? He also said "fuck you and the donkey you rode in on". :)

Polverone - 26-1-2005 at 01:58

vulture - 26-1-2005 at 14:30

Ofcourse this is stupid. I'm not an economics genius, but if you ban something that has a market, be it tiny, the black market will florish.
And black market salesmen don't keep records of ammoniumnitrate sales...

The government is putting itself in a catch 22 situation here. People with the necessary skills and means will now consider producing said chemicals themselves as the increased value due to black market trade will actually make home production worthwile. We're talking about simple precursor production here, not complex drug chemistry, which is still practiced more largely despite more ferocious prosecution and the larger hassle.

[Edited on 26-1-2005 by vulture]

Mumbles - 26-1-2005 at 16:35

I think this will be accompanied by a lot of new requests for licences. I would just go with a much cheaper and easier to obtain(magazine wise) licence if it wasn't for that fucking flash aluminum, which I think requires the famous Type 20.

If this goes through, which I don't find it reasonable to even expect a verdict within the next 2 years. The government will drag this out, and force the foundation who is funding the legal battle to submit. Why can't there be either a good lawyer or very deep pocketed pyro in the fight? If this happens or not I'm getting licenced as soon as I can. That date happens to be just over 3 years away.

FrankRizzo - 26-1-2005 at 19:24


Why can't there be either a good lawyer or very deep pocketed pyro in the fight?

That 'deep pocketed pyro' has to be us!! The fireworks foundation has set up a PayPal account to accept donations for the legal fund. I'm a student and have managed to scrape together $100, so there's no reason why the rest of you can't throw $10,$20, $50 into the fund.

The real shitty part is that even if you do get licensed, homeland security legislation has just passed in PA that establishes MUCH more stringent security measures for explosives magazines (which applies to pyro as well, unfortunately). Such security measures include: (2) perimeter fences (one with razor wire), 24-hr inventory, an expensive gate design, and many more unfeasible requirements. It's just a matter of time before similar legislation is adopted in the rest of the US.

Check out for more info.

[Edited on 27-1-2005 by FrankRizzo]

Mumbles - 27-1-2005 at 17:07

Once my tax return comes I will be making a contribution as well.

I've been reading about the new requirements and they are total bullshit. Do you know how hard it is initially to break into a magazine? There is no need for the razor wire and gate. For the storage of chemical weapons, or poisons, or nuclear material I could understand. If you bring the necessary materials to break into a current magazine, you could easily get through a fence.

FrankRizzo - 28-1-2005 at 15:46

Not only that, but placards on the outside of the magazine detailing the contents is such a stupid idea if security is your concern.

Mumbles - 28-1-2005 at 17:51

I think we just need to be thankful that chemicals don't have to be stored as stringently. To buy bulk chemicals all you really need is a magazine. I feel if you are going to get a licence, spend the extra $100 and get the materials needed for the type one magazine. I would probably just build a smaller one, maybe a cubic yard interior. It doesn't have to be a walk in unless you are a professional. Just say you want it for personal use, and you don't make very much at a time. I imagine a magazine this size would be less than $500. The money could be made back easily by selling chemicals and fuse to unlicenced people.

I'm just glad I don't live in PA. A big box in the backyard might make the neighbors a little suspicious, but having a placard that says "Warning 1.3g Class Explosives" strapped to the front would make me slightly uneasy if I was a common citizen.


MadHatter - 31-1-2005 at 11:28

A placard indicating what is stored in the magazine ? May as well be a sign that reads:
"Hey KEWLS, do I have some hot shit for you !" Reminds me of the pizza delivery places
that require their drivers to put a sign on their autos to indicate that they're from the
pizza place. It's like saying "I have money. ROB ME PLEASE !"

Vulture, you mentioned a "black market" for pyro supplies. Well now, I just may have
order more visco fuse now that the prices will be going up, up, and UP ! CPSC wankers,
Thank You for making my products more profitable !

[Edited on 31-1-2005 by MadHatter]


MadHatter - 21-2-2005 at 15:45

Well, got my extra large roll(5000 ft.) of 1/8", waterproof visco. I've been giving some to my pyro
friends. I'll sell a good bit of it at the next gun show. It cost me 6.7 cents per a foot in that
size. Not bad ! Selling it for 10 cents a foot at a gun show should attract more of the war
re-enactors for their cannons. And a hearty FUCK YOU to the wankers at the CPSC !

Macgyver - 21-2-2005 at 21:10

Once upon a time, America was known as the land of the free.

But these days, I belive that we who live in Europe actually have more freedom than you guys over in US.

Yes, we have stricter gun laws, but nobody throws you in jail if they find you setting off some small homemade fireworks.

Maybe things are a bit harder in the UK as well, but Sweden seems pretty ok to me at least...

Pyro Supplies

MadHatter - 21-2-2005 at 23:45

Macgyver, out of curiosity, how are your laws regarding the acquisition of pyro
supplies(chemicals, fuse, plugs, tubes, etc.) ?

Macgyver - 22-2-2005 at 22:13

Originally posted by MadHatter
Macgyver, out of curiosity, how are your laws regarding the acquisition of pyro
supplies(chemicals, fuse, plugs, tubes, etc.) ?

We can buy almost any chemicals except concentrated nitric/sulfuric acids, and some substances considered as very toxic.

Of course there are some organic precursors that can be used for drug manufacture that are controlled, but except for that we can get pretty much everything.

One thing that is strange though is that sale of fuse requires a police permit, but not oxidizers like perchlorates/chlorates/nitrates, fine metal powders and other stuff that actually makes explosive compounds.

Oh yes, there is one exception - We can buy the kind of fuse that is used for blasting without a license, but not visco fuse which is prefered for pyrotechnics.

So over here a terrorist would be more likely to find what he wants than a true pyro.

But of course a true pyro also makes his own fuse if he cannot buy what he wants...


MadHatter - 23-2-2005 at 18:51

Visco fuse needs a permit and blasting fuse doesn't. That's weird !

Macgyver - 23-2-2005 at 21:27

Originally posted by MadHatter
Visco fuse needs a permit and blasting fuse doesn't. That's weird !

Yes, I can agree with you on that one.

Another weird example: NaNO2, sodium nitrite requires a license here because it's considered toxic, while I can buy unlimited quantity of NH4ClO4....

And blank firing guns require a license if they're not bought pre-1988, but the ammunition doesn't require a license.

And in Denmark the blank firing guns are license free, but the ammo for them requires a license.... Go figure....

[Edited on 24-2-2005 by Macgyver]

More problems with the CPSC

The_Davster - 12-3-2005 at 19:46

Look what cpsc is looking to ban now...sulfuric acid drain opener with a concentration of over 84%. It does not affect me since I am up here in Canada, but I thought everyone else would like to know.



MadHatter - 19-3-2005 at 01:22

Looking around on the net I found several sites that sell sulphuric acid drain cleaner.
One state, Tennessee, bans the sale of it to consumers. I don't know if this is at the request
of the CPSC but anything's possible. An email from an environmentalist is trying to get people
to sign on and sue the manufacturers of perchlorates because of contamination. All these
stupid court actions just make it harder on consumers(especially us pyro lovers !).

vulture - 20-3-2005 at 03:01

I don't know for the rest of Europe, but the law in belgium is pretty relaxed. Buying chemicals is no problem, even highly concentrated acids or very toxic compounds, the trouble is finding a place that sells them (there are a few).

I can get visco and blasting fuse without permits too. I'm not completely up to date on gun legislation, but you can legally own any firearm with a permit as long as it's not a "warrifle", whatever that may indicate.

YT2095 - 7-7-2006 at 05:05

Macgyver: are you Sure about the Visco thing?

I just bought 20m of it here:

they only have 1/16`th green in stock at the moment, but that`s the most popular for many pyro apps anyway :)

Have Fun!


MadHatter - 18-7-2007 at 12:05

Sorry to revive an old thread but I feel this is important. I just received an order of
sparklers that I plan to use on Labor Day. This is for the SUPERVISED kiddies in my community.
There was a letter in the package from The Fireworks Alliance(TFA) concerning the actions
of the CPSC and other notorious U.S. government agencies. The wankers are really hard
at work in more ways than I had previously thought.

It seems, in addition to the CPSC, the National Fire Prevention Association(NFPA),
and the Center for Disease Control(CDC) want to ban ALL consumer fireworks - even
SPARKLERS ! I'm not surprised at the CDC's position - after all they want to ban firearms
calling anything they don't like a 'disease'. IMHO, they're the 'disease' ! Get back to
fighting AIDS, cancer, and other real diseases. Dispense with your political opinions
and get back to being doctors ! You'll get more respect that way. Otherwise, CDC and their
ilk will be recognized as nothing more than political hacks for their power mad masters.

quicksilver - 20-7-2007 at 05:19

Well, this gets back to the concept of blaming the object for a behaviour. I have said this so many times before but I believe it bears repeating...... The gun does not jump off the table and shoot someone, the dope does not dive into your veins, the chemicals do not conspire to make a weapon, etc, etc. the object is blameless but the object is a powerful symbol! And symbols are easy targets for vote-hungry politicians.

Some people will feel more comfortable looking at CERTAIN objects as blameless and not others ("Guns are made for one thing: to kill", etc) but that is intellectually dishonest. Objects are not thinking beings. But as symbols of evil they make a great target because they are safe for politicians to attack. The challenge is to see through the vote-grabbing rhetoric and rise above party politics. Both the Right & the left use this technique.

Usually the Left attacks guns and the Right attacks drugs. Both attacks are foolish as the objects are not responsible for the actions of people. We MUST begin to take responsibility for our actions and stop looking for scape-goats. History has proven time and again that we cannot legislate morality. What we eventually do is hide behind attacks on inanimate objects. We do so because that is a safe thing to attack.

With all the politically correct speech we are imposed with, we are scared to death to be direct in addressing behavioral issues in society. We have become nations of victims. Whining and puling that we are blameless and that if the object had not been available we would have not behaved in a dysfunctional manner. This is not an American problem or a EU problem; this has become a common-place issue in most of the developed world.

It's the easy way out; the coward's way to address a challenge; a leadership cop-out. And really the only way to address it is both Right & Left to drop the attacks and start demanding that people become responsible for their actions. In reality, such a move would alienate certain voting blocks. As those people have been weened on that type of thinking - they will most certainly think they are being abandoned.

To deal effectively with the "objectification" issue we will need a great degree of resolve. A child's anthropomorphizing of a stuffed animal is as silly as believing that any object is responsible for any behavioural outcome. It's simple common sense.

tito-o-mac - 20-7-2007 at 06:12

I don't see why fireworks are restricted or banned in several countries. There's nothing dangerous about them, and hey, you can't restrict one's pleasures!

sparkgap - 20-7-2007 at 06:21

"There's nothing dangerous about them..."

Ah, I'll have to disagree there. In the hands of an idiot, *almost anything* is dangerous. ;) Not *that* dangerous in the hands of people like most of the members of this forum, but nevertheless, nanny states, as it seems now, always cater to the lowest common denominator of the populace. Tsk.

sparky (~_~)

The_Davster - 20-7-2007 at 15:42

Chemical and engineering news had an article on this issue recently. I'll borrow and scan it on monday if not before.
Said some good and bad things including(quotes from memory)
"amateur chemists do not need more than one pound of oxidizers per year"
"I agree that acess to chemicals used for pyrotechnics and explosives by young people does increase their interest in science"

chloric1 - 20-7-2007 at 16:52

Just watching science channel and heard something that caught my attention. A biologist who specializes in geckos ,who allows his grade school age daughter to help in his lab, said "ALL children are naturally scientific and curious. Not all children become scientists because they are discouraged because science is made too boring technical etc.." He forgot to mention that kids are taught scientific pursuits are antisocial and weird! :mad::mad:

Where are we going to be in 30 years? In time it might be more advantageous to move to a third world nation because they might have more liberty by this time.:(