Was the fireworks bill passed through the State Legislature on a “Take your 13-year-old son to work and let them pass laws” day? Other than appealing to the teenager in all of us, it is difficult to understand exactly why the bill was passed, unless it was the possibility of increased tax revenue from sales.
Perhaps Utah lawmakers saw the lines of Utahns caravanning back from Wyoming, cars heavy laden with the illegal fireworks, and thought that Utah should be part of the action. (Funny how the same thinking will never apply to beer.) Instead of letting police and fire departments enforce existing law, our Legislature just decided to make it all legal.
This line of thinking could solve a lot of our problems. Worried about over-crowding the jail system or trying to slash municipal police/fire budgets? Let’s just make a boatload of crimes legal. Don’t worry about that pesky school zone speed limit. Make marijuana, or other “mild” drugs, as easily available as aspirin.
No trespassing restrictions? Just make it a no trespassing “suggestion”. And what’s wrong with a couple of 15-year olds taking mom’s car out for a joyride as long as they stay off the freeways?
In addition to some inherent dangers associated with the new, more powerful fireworks, consider the increased anxiety that will be suffered by the family pet. Think about the trash littering your neighborhood after the typical July 4 neighborhood firework party and multiply it.
And if you thought the neighborhood kids had a hard time skateboarding in a predictable pattern, how well do you think they are going to aim 150 foot rockets?
Maybe there won’t be any increases in brush fires or personal injuries, but it would be tragic if the law was changed unnecessarily only to result in firework-caused incidents. Celebrating Independence Day should not be dependent on the ability of every neighborhood to have their own personal light show, but since Utah legislators seem to think this is your God-given right as an American, we can only hope that safety isn’t lost while celebrating firework freedom.