To the Editor:
Hasn’t the time come for Ohio to step into the 21st Century and follow the lead of many other states to make the full line of consumer fireworks legal for sale and use in the state?
Forty-six states now permit the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks with Kentucky, Maine and Michigan having gone to full-line consumer fireworks within the past two years. Those states have recognized two factors related to consumer fireworks: first and foremost, the products are safer today than they have ever been before, and secondly, the sale of consumer fireworks can raise some much needed revenue for government.
Everyone loves fireworks. People love to watch major league sports, but they also love to play sandlot sports. The same holds true with fireworks. People love to watch professional displays, but they also love to shoot their own backyard fireworks as well.
Fireworks and the 4th of July are synonymous. You simply cannot have a complete Independence Day celebration in America without fireworks. Americans love to celebrate with fireworks in much the same manner as envisioned by John Adams July 3, 1776, when the future U.S. President wrote in a now famous letter to his wife, Abigail, that Independence Day:
“…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”
Ohio legislators have the power to change the fireworks laws and take Ohioans out of the shadows of uncertainty and illegality and bring Ohio to parity with so many other states that permit the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks. This is long overdue.
Since 1994 when the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory first began testing the consumer fireworks at the factory level in China for compliance with U.S. manufacturing and performance standards, imports of fireworks have doubled from 117 million pounds in 1994 to 234.1 million pounds in 2011. During the same period of time, the number of fireworks related injuries, as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, dropped over 23 percent from 12,500 to 9,600.
Write or email your legislator and ask for legalization of the full line of consumer fireworks in Ohio. Take Ohio out of the consumer fireworks dark ages and into the modern era.
Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.
Bill A. Weimer