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House votes to expand types of legal fireworks

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For the third time in a decade, state lawmakers are moving to allow Arizonans to possess and use things that blow up and shoot up.

With the bare minimum 31 votes required for approval, the House agreed on Tuesday to permit the purchase of actual fireworks. HB2398 also will allow Arizonans to buy certain kinds of mortars that actually shoot rockets into the air.

That is a major departure from current law, which specifically prohibits anything that explodes or lifts off the ground. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Tuesday’s vote is part of what has been an ongoing move by the companies that make fireworks and the retailers who make money off their sale.

Up until 2006 pretty much anything with gunpowder was illegal, at least as far as for entertainment.

That year legislators decided it was OK to have things like party poppers. These small devices involve pulling a string that ignites a small charge, discharging some confetti.

The same law legalized snap caps — the things you throw on the ground to make a popping sound — as well as toy smoke devices and glow worms.

It took another four years for lawmakers to be comfortable allowing the purchase and use of sparklers. At the same time, legislators agreed to legalize fountains that spray off sparks and ground spinners.

Lobbyist Mike Williams, representing TNT Fireworks, emphasized to lawmakers at that time that none of what was being allowed actually explodes or shoots into the air.

HB2398, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, changes that. And it’s being pushed by Williams.

But Williams, who still represents TNT, insisted he is representing only retailers this time around. He said they want to be able to respond to consumer demands.

And Williams told lawmakers that if they make just this latest change, that should satiate consumer demand — and keep folks from asking for more powerful items.

“We tend to find if you give them a small amount of fireworks or a lesser amount, people tend to be satisfied with those,” he said.

But Williams said none of this is a commitment he will never ask for expansion of what’s allowed in future years.

The law does preserve existing provisions that allow cities to restrict use of fireworks to a period around July 4th and New Year’s Eve.

5 comments

  1. now this is a real important piece of legislation lmao

  2. I a freakin’ disaster. Dogs are terrified. Veterans are stressed. Debris in my pool. And goes on for months because police won’t (can’t) enforce the laws. Morons!

  3. Jak, do you really think that freedom loving Americans should have less freedom because it scares your dog? Do you know of any veterans groups that oppose fireworks? Let me ask you this.. What do you suppose is a bigger threat to public saftey and private property, dogs or fireworks? It’s not even close Jak! You don’t hear anyone trying to take away your right of dog ownership because of rare dog attack injuries or because of annoying dog barking noise. So don’t try to take away my rights because it annoys you.

  4. Obviously some state law maker(s) has invested in a fireworks distribution company. No one on their right mind would allow fireworks in a city (and state) where it hasn’t seen measurable rain in almost 100 days and is so parched that a cigarette thrown on the ground could start a serious brush fire. As usual, they are looking at the money to be made instead of caring about their constituents.

  5. Michael Terrio

    Why not set aside large areas of the desert for shooting off fireworks in a safer place for all. A lake or pond area would be nice as well. Cement pads all around so nothing to burn.
    Shooting ones in this state not a great idea. No real safe place as even higher alt places do not get enough rain to keep things moist. Only desert areas might be safe.

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