New laws to regulate fireworks in Georgia are aimed at protecting people and pets in the Peach State. When the state adopted laws allowing ground to class C fireworks back in 2015, those laws came with lots of safety restrictions, but none as to when you can use them, according to the lead sponsor of the new changes, Representative Debra Silcox from the 52nd District.

“The way the law is now, yes, people can set off fireworks any day of the week and there are virtually no restrictions on that, and this is gonna allow the local authorities to design or redesign their noise ordinances, as appropriate, to control noise levels.”  Silcox said.

The new law allowing for the change is not a mandate to local governments from the legislature, Silcox says. It’s a tool giving them the teeth they need to protect people who are adversely affected by fireworks.  “Particularly veterans with PTSD were being adversely affected by this as well as people with pets.  In North Georgia, where some people have valuable horses, I’ve been told they had a number of horses that were either severely injured or had to be put down because of different fireworks occurrences.”  Silcox said.

Animal advocates in Chatham County, like the group Speaking Loudly & Often for Animals, eagerly await the changes. 

Carol Williamson, a spokeswoman for the group says, “We have requested to both Chatham County and City of Savannah an update in Noise Ordinances by the limitation of fireworks to a few legal holidays. This would end the unfairness of the current daily allowance, which creates issues for those with PTSD; residents in their homes questioning if it’s gunfire in their neighborhoods; persons with horses needing to have advance knowledge so as to prepare/secure their horses from self-inflicted harm due to their fear as with wildlife; and domestic animals and pets.”  Williamson said.

Silcox says the new law allows rules to be changed locally, but it’s not mandatory. 

News 3 checked with both the City of Savannah and Chatham County government leaders. Right now neither plans to make changes to noise ordinances, but we will continue to follow the story.