To the Editor:
Early on in Connecticut legislative session, there was a proposal before the Public Safety Committee (SB 132) that would have legalized certain classes of consumer grade fireworks. The bill failed to make it beyond the committee process for a full vetting by the entire legislature, but there is time for the legislature to take the proposal up before they adjourn on May 4th.
This year’s legislative proposal is significantly different than any other consumer fireworks bill considered by the Connecticut legislature in the past. There are requirements and precautions placed in this bill to restrict the age of individuals who would be eligible to purchase consumer fireworks to 21, limitations to the hours fireworks may legally be displayed, requirements imposed by safety officials for consumers to abide by, along with some of the nation’s strictest penalties for violations.
The proposal before legislators this session strikes a balance between being restrictive for safety while also allowing families and friends to gather for backyard celebrations – not to mention a positive tax boon to our state’s economy.
Education on the proper use of fireworks has led to less injuries occurring, even less than other outdoor summertime activities. In fact, injuries related to fireworks use have declined despite consumer purchases increasing. Right now, 35 states allow a larger selection of consumer fireworks to be enjoyed by residents. These states, unlike Connecticut, benefit from the expanding industry by receiving taxes and jobs.
Knowing all these facts, there is no reason for Connecticut officials to continue banning certain classes of fireworks. Residents should be able to safety enjoy them. Connecticut is fortunate to have a culturally diverse population and our residents celebrate holidays such as Diwali, the Lunar New Year and Independence Day on July 4th with fireworks and wholesome celebrations. Let’s be competitive with other states. Let’s create jobs that expand commerce, let residents enjoy their holiday celebrations legally and most of all – safely.