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City Bans on Fireworks

November 16, 1986

Orange County cities would do well to think twice before jumping on the anti-fireworks bandwagon as urged in your Nov. 9 editorial. Before outlawing a long-honored American tradition, a few facts merit careful consideration.

Nearly all fireworks-related fires are actually caused by bottle rockets and firecrackers that are already illegal statewide, not the legal "safe-and-sane" fireworks. Thus, banning safe-and-sane fireworks would have no real impact on fire safety as already shown by comparative fire statistics between cities banning fireworks and those not.

The sale of safe-and-sane fireworks is an important source of revenue for numerous community groups, including Boy Scouts, churches and veterans clubs. Their financial loss would be a loss to our communities as a whole.

Finally, if we single our fireworks for banishment, what other holiday traditions would be next? Should Halloween trick-or-treating be banned because of a few irresponsible pranksters? Christmas tree fires annually cause more damage than fireworks, so should they likewise be outlawed? By taking a heavy-handed legalistic approach to remove all possible risk from our holidays, we may make our county a little duller--but not any safer.

Personally, I believe that the rush to prohibit fireworks is more a reflection of demographics than concern for fire safety. As the number of childless couples and single adults increases, some social traditions--such as the family fireworks show--may not be as popular as they once were. Yet, this is no reason for a blanket ban on fireworks without convincing evidence, which as yet does not exist.


City Councilman


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