Powerful fireworks that were sold in New Hampshire to suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev were up for a potential ban by the state Legislature earlier this year. But lawmakers decided to delay action on the legislation.
Tsarnaev, the older bombing suspect, had purchased reloadable mortar kits at a fireworks store although it has not been confirmed the powder was used in the two pressure cooker-styled devices that were ignited or other explosives.
The fireworks bill was retained in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for more work. It was introduced after an incident in Pelham, N.H., where fireworks exploded and 13 people were hurt, including five children.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office pointed to reloadable shells as a contributing factor in the Pelham accident.
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan expressed his disappointment last month when the bill was held over.
Tuesday, he reiterated those concerns, as well as concerns specifically about reloadable mortars.
“I have had concerns and had expressed those on a few occasions,” Degnan said, “with regards to possible misuse of pytrotechnics. Bear in mind, any pyrotechnic could be misused. However, reloadable shells are much easier because they are not all packed in the tubes, like multi-shot units.”
Tsarnaev bought two “Lock and Load” mortar kits, each containing a tube and 24 shells.
“The name kind of conjures that up,” Pelham Selectman Hal Lynde said. “You have mortars, used in the military to lob explosive shells. .... I guess it's conceivable one could use these things to launch a bunch of little bomblets out, instead of just fireworks.”
Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.