South Carolina Advances Bill Restricting Sales of Novelty Lighters

May 15, 2009

A South Carolina bill designed to keep toy-like novelty lighters out of children’s hands has advanced.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a measure this week that would ban minors under age 18 from buying or possessing the lighters. Sen. Jake Knotts showed examples of lighters shaped like a toy gun, a truck and a pocketknife.

Minors could be fined $25. Anyone caught selling or giving the lighters to minors could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The bill now heads to the full Senate.

The bill started as an outright ban, but Republican Sen. Shane Massey of Edgefield said he wanted to protect children without preventing adults from buying them.

The measure is part of a national drive by firefighters and safety advocates. Maine became the first state to ban the lighters last year.

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