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Legalize consumer fireworks in Illinois

Sen. Mark Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk

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Updated: July 30, 2013 7:10AM



Hasn’t the time come for Illinois to step into the 21st century and make consumer fireworks legal for sale and use?

Forty-six states permit the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks, with Kentucky, Maine and Michigan having gone to full-line consumer fireworks in the past two years. Those states recognize that consumer fireworks are safer than ever before, and their sale can raise badly needed tax revenue.

People love to watch major league sports, but they also love to play sandlot sports. The same holds true with fireworks. People love to watch professional displays, but they also love to shoot their own backyard fireworks.

Fireworks and July 4th are synonymous. Americans love to celebrate with fireworks, as envisioned by John Adams. On July 3, 1776, he wrote to his wife, Abigail, that Independence Day should be “solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations [fireworks] from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.”

Legislators should take Illinoisans out of the shadows of uncertainty and illegality and bring the state to parity with so many other states that permit the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks. This is long overdue.

Imports of fireworks have doubled from 117 million pounds in 1994 to 234 million pounds in 2011, while the number of fireworks-related injuries, as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has dropped more than 23 percent, from 12,500 injuries to 9,600.

William A. Weimer, vice president,
Phantom Fireworks

Where does Kirk stand?

Earlier this year the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees cannot be fired for speaking out about working conditions on social media sites such as Facebook. It was an important ruling for those who care about free speech.

All Sen. Mark Kirk now has to do to help is vote up or down on the five new NLRB appointees sent to the Senate for confirmation. It is not an ideological issue — three of the appointees are Democrats and two are Republicans. It is an issue of finding out where our senator stands. The NLRB cannot protect our free speech without people actually having the job.

Chris Henek,
Elmhurst



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