Fireworks could be coming to a retailer near you

House Bill 15 was introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives. The bill proposes to lift the ban on the sale of consumer fireworks and bottle rockets. Apparently the saying, “You learn something new each day” could not be truer. Every July the Fourth and New Year’s Eve, one would never know that bottle rockets and fireworks have been banned in the Peach State. Indeed we all ought to have fun on those designated evenings in the year, but I confess there are times that it can sound like a war zone out there. Speaking of war zones, in some neighborhoods those celebratory sounds are more authentic when gunfire is mixed into the festivities. 

OK, everyone knows that celebratory gunfire is a definite “no-no” in our neck of the woods, but actually enforcing the fireworks ban on those certain dates gets into fuzzy territory. If one attempts to phone authorities about rogue fireworks on July the Fourth, most likely the authorities do not wish to be bothered. They have bigger fish to fry on those evenings so those dates, Peach State residents and/or visitors get an unofficial “pass” to perform their own private fireworks display.

Will lifting this fireworks ban make an overall difference in Georgia? Folks have been able to get a hold of fireworks for ages – most likely from nearby neighboring states where fireworks flow more freely than water shooting out of the Buford Dam. So, why lift the ban? Obviously, convenience is the number one reason to lift the ban. A fireworks hunter will certainly save time, money and fuel buying the goods locally rather than hiking it up to South Carolina to restock the cache of bottle rockets and fireworks. Another good reason to lift the fireworks ban is that it creates business opportunity and expands the tax base.

Convenience and business opportunity are great things, but at what cost? The insurance folks, hospital industry and firefighters are not exactly thrilled with the “Average Joe” shooting off fireworks. It’s a safe bet those people have a billion “fireworks-debacle” stories to tell. From blown-off fingers to fires, partaking in these celebratory activities can be accidents waiting to happen. From certain perspectives, making it a bit more difficult to get fireworks could save fingers, structures and maybe even some lives.

The bill lifting the fireworks ban has been previously introduced, but a fee for retailers was a part of the proposal. That fee would fund trauma hospitals. The fee is not part of House Bill 15. Will the absence of that fee help to lead to the bill’s passage? Stay tuned.


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