A week before the nation celebrates its independence, Gov. Chris Christie signed a law that makes some fireworks legal in the Garden State.

The new law, which went into effect Wednesday, allows residents to purchase and possess ground-based sparklers, party poppers and snappers. Airborne fireworks are still illegal, however.

New Jersey was one of three states in the country that completely banned the sale and use of any fireworks.

The new law only allows for customers 16 years and older.

Retail stores can sell the novelties, but have to adhere to the National Fire Protection Association Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles.

During "Ask the Governor" on WPG on Monday, Christie said he still needed to read the bill, but added that even if he signed the bill, it would probably be too late for residents to be able to stock up on the devices before July 4.

Ed Donnelly, president of New Jersey Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association, said Wednesday that his group is "concerned about the safety citizens and the visitors here in New Jersey, and our firefighters that are out there protecting them."

"We believe that any type of fireworks should be handled by professionals, not anyone else."

Joe Cutter contributed to this report.

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