WILTSE: Fed up with loose fireworks law

Sep 27, 2012


Fireworks are obnoxious to me. I believe they are annoying to the great majority of people not only in the Tri-Cities, but to the public in general.

About one out of a thousand individuals seems to get a big bang out of them — pardon the bad pun. Moreover, they seem to be eerily sprinkled about the community about 10 blocks apart. I suppose they can’t even stand one another, and it is a diabolical scheme that they have conspired so that there is always one within earshot no matter where you live in the city.

Localities are able to restrict their use to certain holidays. I hope they do not include Easter or Veterans Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day or any holiday in which they are not appropriate. I hope they restrict their use altogether, but I will reluctantly tolerate them on the Fourth of July. But please minimize the number of holidays that are to be allowed to be used.

Of course, my passion for the subject stems from the most asinine piece of legislation that the Michigan Legislature has passed in the past 50 years — that is to allow the sale of fireworks more or less unrestricted. I was happy with the way it was; I’m very unhappy the way it is. I hope you and our city fathers (and mothers) can express something to the powers that be at the state level.

This legislation is a prime example of legislators listening (and perhaps profiting) to lobbyists instead of constituents. I’m sure that they listened to a slick operator from the fireworks industry about how the state would profit from the sales tax (and perhaps other taxes) by the sale of fireworks in Michigan instead of Michigan residents running off to Indiana to purchase them.

The tax increase turned out to be minimal, to say the least.

It is a clear case of legislators listening to as many as one lobbyist. Meanwhile, fireworks have probably caused more havoc than profit. Fireworks have already cost us one church (St. Helen’s of Grand Rapids). Fireworks advocates might say that is the concern of the parishioners only; but don’t count on it, for we all pay for the loss.

Fireworks have also caused numerous grass fires and perhaps a few house fires. Also, it cost the fingers of one drunken woman in West Michigan.

That brings up another point. Fireworks and alcohol can be extremely dangerous. I have heard of individuals suffering from a fit of temporary insanity (I have suffered a few), but groups such as legislators is something new to me. It must have happened in this case. I hope the legislators reconsider their actions.

There surely were other injuries due to mishandling of fireworks. Add to that the cost of police in handling annoyance calls during the holidays (ask any policeman and he or she will tell you they were numerous). The result is probably going to amount to a net loss due to the passage of the law.

It looks like some lobbyist or group of lobbyists sold the Michigan legislators a bill of goods and they bought it hook, line and sinker. The law should be repealed.

— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist




The new State law allows fireworks the day before, the day of and the day after ALL national holidays. State law trumps local ordinances, therefore the localities cannot be more restrictive. The city of Grand Haven decided to also include the last Saturday of the Coast Guard Festival.


I should clarify. The new State law allows fireworks year round, although, localities can restrict all days except as described above.


I should clarify. The new State law allows fireworks year round, although, localities can restrict all days except as described above.


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