Poll: Is It Time to Ban All Fireworks Sales?

A story this week on Pacifica's Patch suggests far higher risks of injuries on the 4th of July to children living in cities with lenient fireworks laws. Yet Pacifica and San Bruno continue to sell 'safe and sane' explosives.


Perhaps we were lucky this year.

Unless something went unreported, it appears San Mateo County went without any severe injuries or fires during the 4th of July holiday.

Foster City and Redwood City held successful fireworks shows, and individuals and families could buy 'safe and sane' fireworks legally in and .

"Safe and sane fireworks don't exist," says Dr. John Hall, National Fire Protection Association's Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research. "When things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protection provisions can reliably respond."

, "Legal fireworks have been a way of life in Pacifica for decades, with voters supporting their sale by resounding majorities on at least two occasions over the past 20 years. Mayor Pete DeJarnatt cites a libertarian streak among the city's electorate as a contributing factor in a laissez-faire towards fireworks laws."

A blogger for the L.A. Times suggests 'safe and sane' fireworks sales are a bad idea, and cited an old Pediatrics Journal study that showed "children who live in communities with more lenient fireworks laws are seven times more likely to be injured than kids living where the laws are stricter."

The NFPA points out that of the thousands of serious fireworks-related injuries each year, most are reported in areas where fireworks are legal. The non-profit group says sparklers, considered by many to be harmless, reach temperatures of more than 1,000° F.

"Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs," says Judy Comoletti, NFPA's Division Manager of Public Education. "The few seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth the risk of injury, permanent scarring, or even death."

Our Patch readers weighed-in on the sale of 'safe and sane' fireworks.

"I'm appalled that towns in San Mateo County continue to sell fireworks, no matter how "safe and sane.". Anything that explodes, no matter how small, is insanely dangerous in this tinder-dry, wooded environment. Surely there's a better way to finance a Little League," said one reader.

Another reader had a different take: "I just wanna say live a little pledge allegiance to your flag, honor and celebrate your beautiful country for a night or two! Remember the sacrifice your ancestors made so that you could enjoy these days the way you do. Light a sparkler, an m1000 or a mortar put your hand over your heart and look in the sky as you scream the pledge of alligiance. I have six children I reside here in San Bruno . We love to watch all the illegal fireworks all night."

What do you think? Should 'safe and sane' fireworks be banned? Are they too dangerous, especially for kids who may risk permanent injuries? Or are Pacifica and San Bruno creating more good than harm by allowing the sales of the fireworks, with profits helping groups like Little League teams that struggle in this economy? Is it simply our right to have the opportunity to do as we wish?

Let us know in the comments below. Then vote in our poll.

jen July 11, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Your comment about the police staying away to me is the scariest part of 4th of July. We called a couple of years ago regarding a neighbor setting off bottle rockets from the roof of his house. The police said it was a "he said, she said situation" and left it to us to work it out. How long until people take matters into their own hands if the police refuse to do anything? 5 citations this year clearly is telling us the police are not useless on 4th of July.
momof2 July 11, 2012 at 05:09 AM
To tell you the truth, I witnessed more illegal fireworks going off in the back of Linda Mar than the safe and sane fireworks. And it was middle aged men lighting them with reckless regard for neighbors, pets and homes nearby.
Mike July 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
The root cause of the fire works issue be it the safe and sane variety or other types is the inability of some people to be safe and the question of sanity where a few others are concerned. Then again that thought process can be applied to many things in our society.
Buck Shaw July 12, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Gee Lou last time I checked Independace Day and celebrating IS a national issue. I see the connection to local fireworks ban.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive July 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Buck, Whether we celebrate it is a national issue. HOW we celebrate it is a local issue. that's what this discussion is about. What is really interesting is I know as many Republicans as I do Democrats who think fireworks should be banned altogether, and as many who think there should be no ban, just regulation. It's the one issue that truly crosses party lines.


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