Firefox, the Idaho-based supplier of chemicals and materials to pyrotechnic enthusiasts, has lost its legal battle with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which is determined to protect firework fans from themselves by preventing them from pursuing their hobby. Firefox and its supporters argue that the CPSC has exceeded its statutory authority by targeting fireworks produced by hobbyists for their own use, which can be legally assembled and set off at sites overseen by federally licensed manufacturers. But on April 30, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sided with the CPSC, approving the limits it demanded on Firefox's sales, a precedent the company's customers fear will ultimately make their hobby impractical.
Here is Winmill's April 30 decision (PDF), including the injunction sought by the CPSC, which takes effect at the end of June. The Fireworks Foundation's John Steinberg discusses it here, advising hobbyists to "purchase whatever you think you're going to need for the foreseeable future to the extent that you can afford it."
Brian Doherty covered the Firefox case in the May 2005 issue of reason. The Fireworks Foundation, which has been collecting donations for Firefox's legal defense, has background information here. Skylighter, another chemical supplier, bemoaned Judge Winmill's summary judgment for the government in its December 21 newsletter. The Fireworks Alliance, which is "dedicated to keeping fireworks legal and preserving the tradition of fireworks for all Americans," is here. Last year, Robert Stacy McCain celebrated that cause on the eve of Independence Day.
[Thanks to Robert Goodman for the tip.]