In a recent legal victory for the fireworks community, criminal charges against Bruce Niles were dismissed. The local prosecutor alleged that Niles was guilty of the crime of offering for sale in New York, fireworks that were illegal to sell in New York State. The basis of their allegation was that Niles maintained an entirely lawful consumer fireworks business in Pennsylvania, but, had advertised in New York newspapers the location of his business. Despite numerous attempts by undercover officers to induce Niles to commit and overt act that would indeed be illegal, and despite several phone calls that were made to his business to entice him to ship fireworks into New York or to deliver fireworks to a recipient in new York, they could not get Niles to engage in any unlawful behavior or to commit ANY illegal acts. Despite their dangling larges sums of money in front of him, as Niles is, at all times, a lawful businessman, he advised them that such actions were illegal and further advised these bogus customers that they would need to have a permit to receive and display any consumer fireworks in New York. He clearly told them that if they came to Pennsylvania and purchased fireworks for use in New York without having such permits, that that, too, would be illegal and he advised these bogus "customers" against doing any such thing.
Nevertheless, local New York prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, still laboring under the illusion that they regulate the entire United States and any acts by Congress regulating interstate commerce notwithstanding, decided that they would go outside their jurisdiction and arrest and charge Mr. Niles by filing formal criminal charges and compelling him to come to New York to surrender to arrest and to plead to those FELONY charges and to stand trial.
Mr. Niles contacted the Fireworks Foundation and the PGI and requested legal defense fund grants to defray his defense costs that exceeded $5000.00. Funds from both were approved by votes of the Trustees and Board members respectively.
We are pleased to announce Mr. Niles' complete victory.
It is worth noting that New York acted against a small operator whom they felt would roll over and accept a guilty plea to a misdemeanor, rather than face trial on felony charges. They would then have a precedent to go against larger operators.
The PGI and Foundation Legal Defense funds have aided many other efforts including the current efforts to change New York State laws regulating fireworks for the betterment of our community and for the benefit of the public at large.
Please continue to support the Fireworks Foundation by donating as much as you possibly can. Legal costs in the current CPSC vs. FireFox case will exceed $100,000.00 and victory here is crucial as a loss in this case could lead to the end of sales of all pyro chemicals and pyro supplies (paper goods, too) to all parties except those holding ATFE licenses. Give until it hurts.
Please visit our donation page to make a much needed donation.
Together, we have made a difference in many of these cases.
Together, we can preserve our liberties and maintain our lawful pyrotechnics hobby.
But, we must act in concert and vigorously support the PGI and the Foundation in their efforts to defend our hobby and to preserve our liberty.
And, if you haven't yet, JOIN the PGI. Go to www.pgi.org and download an application today!