Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

State lawmaker reignites fireworks debate as July 4th approaches

Author:

With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, a state lawmaker is sparking the debate again over the idea of legalizing fireworks like firecrackers and aerial fireworks in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports.

Currently, sparklers, charcoal snakes and cones are among the only legal fireworks in Minnesota. Non-explosive fireworks have been legal in the state since 2002.

State Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, who pushed for the legalization of aerial fireworks this past legislative session, said because Wisconsin is only 25 minutes away, "fireworks are already unofficially legal in the south metro."

Garofalo argued that the opposition to fireworks is based "primarily on emotions instead of facts."

“If you think about it, a Minnesotan can legally drive a 5,000-pound vehicle or own a shotgun, but our government says these same people can’t be trusted to responsibly light off a bottle rocket," Garofalo told the Star Tribune in an email. "It really makes no sense.”

Fireworks legalization passed the Legislature in 2012, but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton, the Pioneer Press said.

In his veto letter, Dayton explained: “Government has the responsibility to do its utmost to protect vulnerable young Minnesotans, courageous firefighters and police officers, and innocent bystanders of all ages, who could become victims of someone else’s carelessness.”

Dayton also noted most Minnesotans are responsible enough to ignite and explode those inherently dangerous devices properly and safely, unfortunately, some are not."

From 2002 to 2012 – during the two-week period around the Fourth of July – injuries from non-aerial and non-explosive fireworks increased by about 110 percent, the Pioneer Press said. In addition, the paper said, property lost to fireworks damage increased 500 percent.

Cities, of course, can contract legal aerial and explosive fireworks shows, but at a steep cost. St. Cloud's fireworks show, for example, costs about $30,000 annually.

Last year, Red Wing canceled its annual fireworks show, since the city came up $3,000 short of its $10,000 goal to put on the display.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Update: Vikings say Griffen is out of his home, 'getting the care he needs'

After hours in his residence, the 33-year-old exited "without incident," the team said.

The search involved several local public safety agencies, including a State Patrol helicopter unit and a K9 team.

Woman, 22, dies in crash just outside Brainerd

Another woman was injured in the collision.

Bloomington PD person interest dog abuse 11.24.21

Dog found shot and run over, police searching for person of interest

The police department released photos of a possible suspect.

unsplash football helmet ground

Parents of star QB suspended for state final file lawsuit to let him play

He was automatically suspended after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct calls in the semifinal.

Christopher Endicott

Former Lakeville principal dies in Crow Wing County jail

The 53-year-old was pronounced dead after lifesaving measures were attempted.

Related

Al Jensen - Eveleth fireworks fire - 2

Minnesota town's 4th of July fireworks show leads to hillside wildfire

Thankfully, firefighters were ready and standing by.