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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fireworks bill too late for Independence Day

    When good friends Jon and Mike prepare for their annual Fourth of July festivities, they try to go all out.

    They buy beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, Roman candles, and bottle rockets. The duo was hoping to legally celebrate the upcoming holiday after the approval of a legislative bill. They almost got their wish.

    House Bill 2258 is currently working its way through the Arizona legislature, but even if it is signed into law soon, it will not go into effect until well after July 4.

    The bill would repeal the current ban on some fireworks and legalize the sale, possession, and manufacture of fireworks that emit sparks or smoke, but not fireworks that leave the ground or can be used as a projectile. Passage of the bill would make certain fireworks legal in Arizona for the first time since they were banned in 1941.

    With a vote of 34 to 21 on May 26, the Arizona House passed the bill, which now has to meet with Senate approval in order to become law. On June 27, the Arizona Senate gave preliminary approval for the bill.

    Preliminary approval makes it appear that the measure will eventually pass. It took one month for the bill to travel from the House to the Senate, and it will likely take another month for the Senate to make their final decision.

    If the Senate does approve the measure in the upcoming weeks, all that would be needed is the signature of Gov. Jan Brewer. If Brewer signs the bill, the state would have to wait the prescribed 91 days for the measure to become official.

    Brewer has shared with reporters that as a child, she used to play with sparklers in her home state of California.

    Neither Mike nor Jon would disclose exactly where they purchase their fireworks from, but they did admit that they know it is illegal to possess such explosive devices in the state of Arizona. They also admitted that a small fine does little to deter them from celebrating the independence of their nation the way that they see fit. “”The government gets to play with hydrogen bombs; why shouldn’t we get to play with a few bottle rockets?”” Jon said. “”We’re grown men, and I don’t think it’s fair that the state tries to police us like we’re children.””

    The bill would require that anyone attempting to purchase fireworks be at least 16 years old. Also, the bill would only make it legal to purchase fireworks, leaving the possibility for cities and townships within the state to ban fireworks use within local jurisdictions.

    The bill has met with opposition from several public interest groups, including state firefighters and nurses. Both groups claim that fireworks are dangerous devices and that in order to safeguard our health, our precious natural resources and wildlife, the bill should be opposed and the fireworks ban should be upheld.

    Supporters of the bill feel that repealing the ban is a move in the right direction. “”Who is the government to tell us how we can enjoy our holidays? Passing this bill would get us all one step closer to repealing some of the Draconian regulations that the state places on honest, hard-working, tax-paying citizens,”” Jon said.

    “”Not to mention that every sparkler sold in the state would add a penny or two to Arizona’s tax revenue,”” Mike added. “”I think it’s high time the government stays out of our personal lives and focuses on the issues that have a real impact on the citizens of this state.””

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