July 21, 2014 at 1:00 am


Return to sensible fireworks regulations

Michigan's easing of bans on larger fireworks has been an assault on neighborhood peace

Let's leave fireworks displays to the professionals and go back to the way things were in 2010. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

The Fourth of July holiday is over but the booms and bangs continue, as does the turmoil over Michiganís law allowing the sale of noisy aerial and ground explosives.

From safety concerns to noise complaints, many in the state are realzing the looser guidlines just arenít working out.

Count state Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, in that crowd. Heís introducing legislation that would revert the regulations to the stronger and more restrictive rules in place prior to 2011.

It canít pass soon enough.

ďA personís accessibility to fireworks has increased tremendously and itís gotten completely out of hand,Ē Anderson says. And heís right.

Revelers are constantly ignoring the hours set by communities to discharge fireworks. Residents have a right not to be disturbed by such illegal action

Since the end of the ban, loud booms can be heard deep into the night in most neighborhoods, disrupting sleep and tormenting children and pets. Police are overwhelmed with disturbance calls. There are also safety issues.

This summer, a fireworks explosion claimed the life of a father of four young girls from the Detroit-area. Last year, a 35-year-old Clinton Township man died in a fireworks accident.

In St. Clair Shores, a family garage and two cars were destroyed because of a fire caused by the smoldering remains of falling fireworks. Neighboring homes also sustained damage.

Thereís also been a spike in lawsuits. A local man who lost his right hand in an accident allegedly claims he was following the instructions for using fireworks but the device was packed with an explosives amount that exceeded federal limits. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that only 67 percent of the fireworks tested meet federal guidelines.

Of less importance than public safety but still noteworthy is that the promises of additional revenue from fireworks sales havenít materialized. The state was supposed to realize $10 million a year in new taxes, but officials say the figure is closer to $6 million. Even $10 million doesnít justify the problems caused by the current law.

Although the Legislature is adjourned until September, the Senate has a summer session Aug. 13. Andersonís bill should be taken up and made ready for the House when it returns.

Allowing the virtually uncontrolled sale and use of fireworks was ill-advised, at best. It was a modest effort at deregulation that didnít work. Personal freedom does not include the right to annoy and endanger your neighbors.