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Poll: Should Firecrackers and Bottle Rockets Be Legal In Minnesota?

Aerial fireworks aren't allowed in the state—on the 4th of July and throughout the year. We want to know what you think of the law.

Earlier this year, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that would make aerial fireworks legal in Minnesota.

At the time, Dayton said fire officials convinced him that some Minnesotans are not responsible enough to light fireworks that explode in the sky.

A day before the 4th of July, we want to know what you think of the law.

Can you have enough festive fun with sparklers and ground spinners? Or do you feel you should be able to light bottle rockets, firecrackers and aerial spinners?

Answer our poll questions and explain how you feel in the comments.

(Oh, and have a wonderful Fourth of July, everyone!)

Bill Murphy July 04, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Randy the fire chiefs in each city are in charge of handling fireworks not the police. The fire chiefs set the rules and the police are supposed to enforce the laws set by the fire chiefs. Now that you know a litle more about things maybe your the one who is ignorant.
Shawn Hogendorf July 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM
What do you mean by "handling fireworks," Bill? Also, fire chiefs don't set laws.
kristi July 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Trained people do "work". No training required for "play". This issue is about fireworks not fireplay . I agree with keeping the MN law way the way it is. The analogies and comparisons made To change current law in MN don't work for me. Go to a state where what you want to do is legal. If you are in a location where what you want to do is illegal Then help society by please not doing it.
Dennis July 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I had a neighbor years ago who had just moved in. He was out until 2 am with his teenage boys shooting off firecrackers. In the morning, I found the remains of bottle rockets all over my yard and on my roof. My house could have burned down. Fortunately, they moved after less than a year. Oh, he was also a family practice doctor.
Dennis July 04, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Caitlin, you must not be following the news. Does Colorado Springs ring a bell? Fireworks cause fires. Even sparks from target shooting cause fires and may even be the cause for some of the Colorado fires. There are enough professional firework displays to entertain us. If kids want to make bang bang noises they should join the military.
Susan July 04, 2012 at 03:59 PM
- In the United States annually, over 2,000 reported structure or vehicle fires were caused by fireworks. These fires resulted in numerous civilian deaths, multiple civilian injuries, and millions in direct property damage. - The majority of fireworks injuries occurred during a 30 day period (June 23rd - July 23rd). In addition to July 4th other periods for injuries are New Years Eve and other holidays. - Annually, over 9,000 people in the United States are treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. - Burns are by far the leading type of fireworks injury. Contusions and lacerations were second. Hands or fingers were injured the most followed by injuries to the eye. - Injuries to children 5 and under were caused by sparklers which are viewed as harmless and not dangerous. Sparklers burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees, which is the same as a burning match. Injuries to children 5-14 years of age were caused by firecrackers and bottle rockets. - Males accounted for three-fourths (75%) of fireworks injuries. - Annually, firecrackers cause the greatest number of injuries followed by bottle rockets and sparklers. - BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF TIME AND QUANTITIES IN USE, FIREWORKS POSE A HIGHER RISK OF FIRE DEATH THAN ANY OTHER CONSUMER PRODUCT. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency United States Fire Administration National Fire Data Center
Peggy Sue July 04, 2012 at 05:46 PM
The neighborhoods are hugely impacted for a month before and a month after the 4th of July by the noise of fire crackers, both legal and illegal, going off day and night. The neighborhoods pay the price for a few individuals who have no regard for the quality of life/sleep/right to quiet of the nearby home owners. That is actually true of noise issues in the neighborhoods every night of the year. Stillwater police don't search out noise issues on those days nor on the 4th of July. They're "too busy downtown" on the 4th. What are they "too busy" doing on the other nights?
Tim Genck July 04, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Yes. Keep the tax revenue in MN and not WI.
B. Martin July 04, 2012 at 07:38 PM
"by the people" means elections, not polls. This is a representative form of government, not a simple democracy. The United States has never been a simple democracy.
Wendy Erlien July 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Here's what a few people are commenting on the Maple Grove Patch Facebook page to the question "Should Firecrackers and Bottle Rockets Be Legal In Minnesota?: - ABSOLUTELY NOT. Random acts of fireworks can send troops with post traumatic stress into a tailspin. - I don't get it. The state wants to save us from ourselves with some laws (seatbelt, texting, drunk driving, et all - all good) but may allow some of the most dangerous activities. Will the state be subsidizing cities' EMS and FD personnel to cover the added incidents?
Randy Marsh July 04, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Wow, I guess our fire chief is way underpaid. In addition to lobbying a (Stillwater) mayor and council for a costly and unnecessary fire station that does not adequately serve the residents who need it most, the chief apparently sets parameters, makes laws and lights the match to set off the several minutes of color and choreography in the sky for our annual fireworks show. I didn't realize non-elected city officials have the power to enact laws, but clearly I have engaged in a battle of wits with an unarmed man. Does the chief also coordinate the music and guarantee clear skies while he's at it?
Mike Martin July 05, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Im sorry I have to chime in here because people are ASSUMING. First off, Dennis the fires in Colorado were due to a lighting strike in a forest devistated by bettle kill. like South Dakota many trees have been killed by a bettle that left dead dry forests, a tinder box waiting to be started. Mother Nature started this fire not fireworks. Do not falsely accuse fireworks to try and prove your point. Michelle: Your comments just proved Caitlins point, how many innocent bystanders have been mamed or killed in a car crash because of some irrisponsible person. Those people are prosocuted by the law, just like anyone who is irrisponsible with fireworks. Your "fear" that you talk about are you really afraid of someone with fireworks when you leave your home, or the person that is trying to abduct your child, or the criminal that breaks into your home, or mugger that stabs you to get your purse. Is fireworks really what worries you the most? In the end folks no matter what man uses, there will be those that use it correctly and those that misuse them. As responsible adults it is our job to teach people the right way to use these and punish those that do it wrong. Making laws that are very difficult to enforce just makes responcible people made because they are being punished for the small number of people doing it wrong and the bad people will still do it and the police will not be able to enforce it. In the end who loses. The honest, responsible person.
Prince July 05, 2012 at 06:23 AM
How many years were they legal and how much fun did you have as a child doing this in your back yard with your family every year, I say legalize those things here and just designate a park or opened space to use them where there are fixed areas to place and light them off away from homes and grumpy neighbors who have forgotten the fun of it all. On another note keep M80's out of the loop those things suck and are far worse than any thing I've seen lit on the 4th of July my entire life. Everything is dangerous, even people so in a every argument there will be nay Sayers that use what if arguments and thumb uppers that use the "well this is bad too so why isn't that illegal" counter none of which reall holds weight because both are true. The difference is the people doing the arguing.
Donna Schmitt July 05, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Just legalize them. People will do stupid things whether they are legal or not. (People still drink and drive and drinking is still legal.) We are losing out on a lot of revenue by not legalizing them. Police don't have enough cops to stop all illegal fireworks. With all the sales of illegal fireworks to Minnesotans in neighboring states, only a few are caught. But I also think we should allow each city or park to ban and or regulate them as they choose.
Craig July 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Sounds like a great argument for legalizing marijuana.
Craig July 05, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I'd be okay with legalizing them if they put a device in the firework which only allowed them to be lit within a certain time period. Until that time, I say ixnay on the ireworksfay.
Dave Nehring July 05, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I agree, Donna. People need to learn to be more accountable, and government needs to stay out of our daily lives in this manner. Too much nanny state. We need to remember what the day itself is - Independence Day - and actually look at our personal independence we are supposed to be celebrating, and understand that allowing devices on fireworks to keep them from lighting, or any number of other over-the-top security measures brought upon us in recent history limits our independence by making us all feel very dependent on Big Brother to keep us "safe"
Susan July 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The "personal accountability" argument is great, but how do you enforce it? We have been having another debate here on Patch about the same thing. We must face it, there will always be idiots who are not responsible, like drunk drivers and those who foolishly mix alcohol and fireworks. This is why the government steps in....to make laws trying to protect people from those who are irresponsible. Is it right, I am not sure, but I am glad that less people are allowed to legally be irresponsible.
Susan July 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
So.... It is legal to own a hand gun,rifle, shotgun, and other firearms... but illegal to shoot off fireworks?
Susan July 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
But are we allowing our children to "play" with guns? I am not arguing your point, I think it's a great one, but I think the problem is often that people don't recognize how dangerous fireworks are. Great profile name. :)
Joshua July 05, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I grew up and spent most of my life in Kansas, a firework friendly state. I've lived here in Minnesota for the past 12 years. One thing that I've noticed here is that most people either casually support or are extremely irritated by fireworks. Trust me, there were never any "horror" stories about kids or adults destroying themselves with aerial or concussive/report style fireworks where I grew up. Once it's legalized, people get used to them, plain and simple. The state may allow "real" fireworks to be purchased and used, but it boils down to the city ordinances. That's how it worked in Kansas. You'd have to go out of city limits to purchase/use for most towns, but some towns did in fact allow it. Those were where the responsible people lived. I do have a suggestion though that could promote a safe 4th of July holiday while using "real" fireworks should the law change: cities could designate some parks as legal areas to shoot them off, under the supervision of the local fire departments. If anyone was doing something irresponsible or stupid, give them a warning and/or write a citation. Teach the citizens and the children how to be safe, and should something bad happen, help is right there immediately available. This is also how some towns in Kansas operate. I can see the fire officials point though, but I think their argument is essentially: "If 100% of all participants cannot act in a safe manner then they should be illegal." That's never going to happen.
SomeGuy July 05, 2012 at 08:19 PM
For whatever reason, there is no effort to enforce the law in Woodbury. Last night (the 4th), there was a longer than two-hour window of constant fireworks in Stonemill Farms going until at least 11 when I nodded off. It was a bit like being in a war zone. And that followed some truly spectacular fireworks which occurred the night before. If the amount spent on fireworks is any indication (my neighbor spent more than $1000 on his show this year), I'd say we've turned the corner on the recession (which is worth celebrating).
Kris Janisch July 05, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Thanks Guy. I did talk to the PD this morning. No one blew their fingers off or anything last night.
Mark Kulda July 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Bill....you are very misinformed. Fire Chiefs don't set laws. The city councils pass ordinances that can regulate fireworks and the state legislature can pass laws that regulate fireworks but city police chiefs and fire chiefs have nothing to do with "setting laws dealing with fireworks" as you imply. They enforce the laws and ordinances that are passed by city councils and the State Legislature. The problem with your little analogy that more people are hurt and killed with automobiles so let's ban cars is a bit of a stretch. Cars and driving are strictly regulated by the state so when an accident happens and somebody is hurt or killed by another driver's negligence it is very easy to find out who was responsible and you can take action against them by making them pay a fine or get jail time and by revoking their license to drive. But with fireworks, which does not take a license to buy or use, it would be very difficult to prove to a jury who was the person that bought and was setting off fireworks that hurt an innocent person and therefore it would be nearly impossible to hold that person accountable for their negligence. It's a huge difference. Hopefully now you know a little more about what you were trying to talk about and people can't complaint you are ignorant anymore.
Irving July 06, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I have a hard time distinguishing between the arguments for allowing dogs and allowing fireworks. My 10 year old son has now been bitten 3 times by dogs, all while he was outside either walking with me or at the playground with his friends. I had my ear torn by a dog as a teenager, and as an avid bike rider I've had dogs chase my bike and I'm always a bit worried about being hamstrung. Dogs are obviously a danger to others, just like fireworks. They obviously make lots of unwanted and often annoying noises, and certainly the 'litter' they leave behind is every bit as unpleasant as shredded fireworks. I'd be interested in someone explaining to me how dogs should be allowed and fireworks shouldn't?
Joshua July 06, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Besides personal injury, dogs don't usually burn houses down.
Susan July 07, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Irving, I have to wonder where you live...I was bit by a dog once as a child (I was teasing it), and my teenage son has never been bit. I'm sorry for your bad luck, but I don't know if your circumstances would be considered average. I've posted statistics above, with the most important one being in CAPS. I agree, dogs can be dangerous when having irresponsible pet owners and/or bad circumstances, but I think if you factor in the number of dogs vs. the statistic information above, you would have to come to the conclusion that, as a whole fireworks are more dangerous than the average pet dog.
Irving July 07, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Joshie - that is a very good point, and I recognize you said that as well Susan. The 1st time my son was bit was on the 4th of July in Gordon Wisconsin. He was a toddler walking with one hand held by my wife and the other waving free as he toddled. A dog came racing by and took a bite on his hand, puncturing and tearing his skin. The 2nd time he was 6 years old and at his grandfathers house in St. Paul, and a dog raced up and when my son understandably was frightened and raised his hands, the dog slashed him in the arm. 3rd time he was 9 and we were hiking in 7 Mile Creek park near Mankato. A dog owner opened a van door releasing a couple of excited little girls and two hyperactive dogs. The dogs were running all over scenting and barking crazily, and they ran by me snapping as I dodged and a second later they hit my son, tearing up his leg. If he hadn't been wearing very heavy hiking pants, he would be crippled rather than just punctured. Per http://www.dogsbite.org, 1000 people per *day* require emergency treatment due to dog bites. And all that said, I do agree that dog owners are the problem - in each case, the dog owner claimed the dog was perfectly safe, and in all cases the dog was off the leash and overly stimulated, and with my son giving off understandable fear signals, he seems to now be the target. I'll continue to believe dogs are at least as dangerous as fireworks.
Susan July 07, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Good point and well argued. As you said, it does seem to be the fault of the irresponsible pet owners. It's too bad, and I truly hope your son does not have a fear of dogs for life. Doing a quick search to try and compare statistics (using your link for dog statistics), I found some interesting information. I couldn't find studies for the same years, but I did get somewhat close: In 2008 there were about 316,000 ER visits for dog bites, and my statistic above shows about 9,000 ER visits for fireworks plus 2,000 reported fires. In 2011 there were 31 deaths from dog bites, and 5 deaths from fireworks (not including those who may have died in structures having caught on fire). A couple other stats: 200,000 gun injuries each year, with 31,000 deaths. 520,000 people injured by alcohol related accidents, with 25,000 people killed. 67% of Americans drink alcohol. 10% of Americans will drive drunk each year. 44% of Americans have dogs. 30% of Americans own a gun. ??% of Americans use fireworks. It's hard to make direct comparisons without knowing the final percentage, but I found the stats interesting.
Susan July 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I think it's interesting that the smallest percentage of people (10%) will cause the largest number of injuries, and second largest number of fatalities....drunk drivers. I think I also read that these numbers have remained about the same for the last ten years, which tells me that what is being done to stop it is not working.

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