Fireworks limitations reasonable
As we approach the Independence Day holiday — which this year creates a three-day weekend because of July 4 falling on a Monday — we approach a time that many look forward to, but certain others dread.
It’s not because of the celebration of America, it’s because of the method of the celebration of America — mainly fireworks.
For many, fireworks are a fun tradition, whether setting off their own or watching a professional display. But for others, fireworks are at best an inconvenience and at worst a legitimate hazard.
The inconvenience comes from those with small children and/or pets who may be frightened by the loud noises fireworks create. The hazard can come from the potential for fires, injury or even causing a mental health issue for those with post-traumatic stress disorder or some similar condition caused by exposure to explosive devices.
A few years ago, Pennsylvania relaxed many of its once-stringent laws regarding consumer-grade fireworks. Many hailed that as the commonwealth getting with the times.
But even though most have managed to use fireworks in a responsible manner that is considerate to others, some have not.
Many of us have that person in the neighborhood who seems to not care what time of day it is (or even what day it is) and will shoot off fireworks, regardless of how it affects anyone else around them or if it is even legal for them to do in the first place.
As a result, we’re glad the state House has overwhelmingly passed a bill tweaking the state’s fireworks laws to place common-sense limits on their use.
Under the bill, if it becomes law, it would only be permissible to use fireworks between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., except during July 2-4 and Dec. 31 — Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, two occasions that see the widest use of fireworks — when they can be used until 1 a.m.
The bill would also require people to give livestock owners or managers three days’ notice before fireworks could be used near an animal housing facility and local municipalities would be given more authority to tailor ordinances to their specific area’s circumstances.
We love America and we love all that July 4th brings with it. But we also understand and are sensitive to the fact that others may be more negatively affected by fireworks.
We feel these changes to the law are a reasonable compromise and hope the Senate and governor agree.