Why are so many Northeast Ohio communities foregoing the use of garden firecrackers?

Starting yesterday, under a new state law passed last fall, ordinary people can own consumer-grade fireworks, like firecrackers and bottle rockets, and set them off in their own backyard or on the property of others, with permission, during certain times of celebration. These holidays include the three days around the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, and during a number of other public holidays and weekends.

Still, Cleveland’s fireworks ban remains unchanged, after the city council failed to agree on how to change the law amid concerns over enforcement challenges. (In light of the state’s new law, Mayor Justin Bibb had wanted to bolster Cleveland’s fireworks ban with a ban on home storage of consumer fireworks and a ban on sellers of fireworks. short-lived fireworks.)

Meanwhile, a cleveland.com survey of about three dozen Cleveland-area suburbs found that most either chose to maintain their current consumer fireworks ban or enacted specific legislation to remove” from the new state fireworks law.

Among the few local communities that will allow the use of personal fireworks this weekend and other specified holidays: Olmsted Falls, Maple Heights, Fairview Park and Painesville Township in Lake County, reports Kaylee Remington from cleveland.com. Brooklyn has chosen to limit consumer use of fireworks in its community to July 4th only.

This is a new issue for many communities since Bill 172 provisions allowing consumer use of fireworks went into effect yesterday, in time for the holiday weekend. of independence. For communities that do not opt ​​out, the law permits use during a wide range of holidays, primarily between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., including June 16, Cinco de Mayo, Lunar New Year, Labor and Memorial Day and Diwali weekends, in addition to July 3, July 4 and July 5, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

A big question for communities maintaining existing bans is one the Cleveland City Council just faced: With consumer fireworks now widely permitted on holidays, their ownership is expected to expand. So how will neighborhood town halls best manage security issues? How will they enforce their bans? Should cities adopt a regulatory framework rather than a ban? What is the best way to manage the use of consumer-grade fireworks in the future?

Our editorial board roundtable lights some sparklers for inspiration and offers their thoughts.

Leila Atassi, Public Interest and Advocacy Officer:

Most cities sponsor professional 4th of July fireworks that are safe and open to the public. Frankly, that’s enough explosives for any community. So, for the sake of sleeping babies, dogs, seniors, veterans, and anyone who hates your amateur pyrotechnic skills, obey the bans!

Ted Diadiun, columnist:

What a laugh! If fireworks are just newly legal, what are all those explosions I’ve heard over the years on both sides of the 4th of July? Noisemakers will make noise whether it’s legal or not, and whether my dog ​​and I like it or not (we don’t).

Thomas Suddes, editorial writer:

Fireworks are inherently dangerous. Also, the explosions of fireworks scare the dogs. Leave the fireworks to the professionals who stage community fireworks; they know the risks and know how to protect themselves against them.

Lisa Garvin, Editorial Board Member:

Legalizing fireworks statewide, only to ban them in some municipalities, is like giving someone the keys to a sports car and then the garage. That certainly won’t stop my fireworks-loving neighbors. Bans have merit, but I can’t imagine they’ll be a top priority for law enforcement.

Victor Ruiz, member of the editorial board:

As someone living in Cleveland, I will tell you that if there is a ban, most people don’t know about it. Since enforcement is nearly impossible, we should take advantage of this and create a “fireworks tax” to help offset the loss of taxes due to working from home.

Mary Cay Doherty, Editorial Board Member:

Unenforced bans are unlikely to deter those attracted to consumer fireworks. Illiceity may even add to the attraction. Similarly, the lifting of bans will not suddenly change the minds of those who fear amateur fireworks. I understand the concerns of these cities, but allowing fireworks for consumers might not lead to dramatic spikes in usage and injuries.

Elizabeth Sullivan, opinion director:

The firework injury experts are right: it’s not worth blasting your children’s fingers or eyes, or your neighbor’s children’s fingers or eyes, to start big fires. fireworks in your garden. Roll out the cover and enjoy secure, professionally managed viewing in your community. Happy fourth!

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