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The fireworks dilemma: safety, fun or freedom?


So what’s the most fun way of celebrating America’s independence?

“Blowing things up,” according to Gov. Doug Ducey.

But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to legalize firecrackers here.

The governor’s comments come as the House this past week voted to lift the ban that currently exists on things that explode. The same measure also would allow Arizonans to obtain a kind of mortar that shoots explosives up into the air.

It is now up to the Senate to decide whether to send the measure to Ducey.

“I’m going to be more on the freedom side,” the governor said Friday when asked about the legislation. “But it would be about safety first.”

Ducey acknowledged that firecrackers already are legal in many other states. But the governor said he wants to see the specifics of what’s in HB2398 as well as listen to arguments before deciding whether to add Arizona to that list.

“We have incredible fire concerns,” he said. But the governor said he recognizes there also are issues of personal freedom.

“I want people to have fun,” Ducey said.

“And there’s nothing more fun than safely blowing things up on the Fourth of July,” he continued. “But I also want to make sure that people are protected.”

The legislation awaiting Senate action keeps in place existing restrictions that allow communities to ban “consumer fireworks” for most of the year. But the law spells out that cities cannot block the use of any legal devices — which would include firecrackers and single-use mortars if this bill passes — between June 24 through July 6 and Dec. 24 through Jan. 3 of each year.

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