Mass. Lawmaker Pushing For Bill To Legalize Fireworks

BOSTON (CBS) – With the Fourth of July around the corner, State Rep. Richard Bastien of Gardner is trying to get some traction for a fireworks bill he filed earlier this year.

Rep. Bastien is pushing a bill to allow people to use fireworks with a permit in Massachusetts, pending city or town approval. He says it would bring in $40 million to Massachusetts in money that’s now being spent in New Hampshire.

But the State Fire Marshall, as well as the Associations of State Fire Chiefs and Police Chiefs, all oppose a change in the law. They say right now, we have one of the lowest rates of injuries and deaths connected to fireworks accidents in the nation.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports.

“Not only is it our busiest time of the year for fires and complaints, our Firefighters, EMT’s and Paramedics respond and treat bystanders who are injured, maimed and burned by careless use of illegal fireworks. many of these victims are innocent children. Please leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Chief Paul Zbikowski, the President of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

He adds, “Why do we want to go backwards? We have the lowest injury rates as one of four states that ban fireworks. It would be like saying get rid of the seatbelt laws because we know they save lives and reduce injuries but, if more people got hurt we would create more jobs because we would need more rescue workers, doctors and nurses.”


They can’t ring them in fast enough at Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire, especially just days before the fourth of July.

“It just gets busier and busier,” said store manager April Walton.

Much like the fireworks of the same name, it is the ‘beast unleashed”, and Mike Spaulding is eagerly cashing in on everything from shots to roman candles, spending nearly $200.00.

“The kids love the sparklers. They last a couple of minutes and they know enough not to get burned,” he said.

The problem is Spaulding is from Massachusetts where fireworks are illegal. But, so are half the people in the parking lot on this day.

Another customer who only wanted to be called “Rick” was also from Massachusetts, tucking his own stash away in the back of his truck.

“I think everything is illegal in Massachusetts, it’s a very strict state,” he said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

Supporters say passing the bill would bring in tens of thousands of dollars in revenue that’s being spent across state lines.

“I definitely think it should be legalized,” said Spaulding. “It’s another way for Massachusetts to bring in money.”

Peter Lariviere just stepped over the border from Haverhill, Massachusetts, wondering why he can’t shop legally in his own backyard.

“I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be legalized, as long as they’re dealt with safely,” he said.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson and Beth Germano contributed to this report.

  • DrStrangelove

    I live in a very densely populated area. I don’t mind fireworks being legal, but you should be required to have a certain amount of space (1/2 acre or 1 acre?) of property on which to fire them off. I don’t need the guy who lives six feet from me getting drunk and shooting M80’s into my windows. Besides, isn’t Deval going to stand at the border and collect his ilegal interstate tax revenue as we all come back over the state lines?

  • Don M

    permits would work…look at gun laws, most law abiding, permitted gun owners rarely commit crimes with their guns and are responsible. firework permits would creat the same results, responsible people using them responsibly.

  • emom

    Great this is all we need , Unruley and drunk fools lighting off fireworks to create panic and mayheim in the neighborhoods. It’s more than we can handle every year drunks go out and light them up thru the middle of the night.,,. AH FOLKS ARE TRYING TO SLEEP…. You know little ones dont need to be woke up in a panic and be scared. Oh but wait I forgot we have people that cant even drive or walk across the street with out getting hurt… carry on.

  • Ed Turner

    Open or Closed fireworks in Massachusetts obviously is a law of disobedience. When your neighbor can sell fireworks you got to see the battle to close off the use is like trying to control a tornadoes path of destruction. As for drunks and other injury non related to drinking and fireworks, it would be easier to proclaim such incidents become the responsibility of the user. In other words if a user of the fireworks creates injury or damage they should be held accountable just like our drinking and driving laws, and they should have to pay the injury or damage bills out of there pockets, not by way of insurances. This would at least make people responsible, accountable and make them think if not learn a lessen for there ignorances.

  • Scott Antonio

    So the video shows all the people out of state buying fireworks and their License plates!! wonder if the authorities are at their houses now!

    • Ron B

      If they really wanted to crack down on fireworks, the authorities would just park their cars along Comm Ave in Allston every night during the summer.They’re as good as legal here already when it comes to enforcement.

  • kroozer

    Question. Why do liberals hate freedom? Answer. Because they think they know how to live your life better than you do. Massachusetts is one of four state to ban fireworks? In the majority again huh Mass? Fine. I’ll go to NH and buy them, give NH the money and come home and set them off in Mass. That law works huh? Getting closer to move to the “live free” state.

  • State Fire Marshal Stresses Safety With Fireworks « CBS Boston

    […] Coan also slammed a current proposal in the House to legalize fireworks in Massachusetts. […]

  • State Fire Marshal Stresses Safety With Fireworks

    […] Coan also slammed a current proposal in the House to legalize fireworks in Massachusetts. […]

  • paul carvalho

    what i dont get is why people are freaking the hell out over fireworks. fireworks is america and its not like banning them is even stopping us from doing it. im just sick of getting yelled at for poppin a couple ground eggs that last like 2 seconds. and for those thinking about drunk ppl. LOOK AT THE WORLD there are tons of drunks driving and getting killed or killing. even though its illegal to.and heres my point fireworks are illegal but whats stopping them from going over the border to buy some and get drunk ne ways. its going to happen weather they are illegal or not. but if legal the would learn to be more careful because the penalty for no permit would be greater. everyone needs to just calm down and just let ppl live their lives.

  • Matt

    I’m a pretty “liberal” guy and I love setting off fireworks. The bigger and more dangerous the better. Looking forward to their legalization.

  • Would Legalizing Fireworks in Massachusetts effect your Massachusetts Homeowners Insurance Policy? | Downey Insurance Group Blog | Great Insurance People

    […] If you are a Massachusetts resident you are most likely aware that the personal use of fireworks is illegal in our state, and we have to let the experts run the show this year. But State Rep. Bastian from Gardner is supporting a bill that would allow individuals to apply for a fireworks permit pending their city or towns approval. This bill would also allow for the sale of fireworks in Massachusetts. He claims that Massachusetts should be cashing in on the thousands of dollars that resident are spending on fireworks that are being bought and used illegally. Currently most of this money is being spent in New Hampshire. (CBS Boston) […]

  • Nancy

    As far as I’m concerned the less fireworks…the better!

  • Dan

    So here’s another take on this issue…looking at the law, yes, fireworks are illegal in Maxichusetts. The case here is that although they are illegal, the repercussion is a civil infraction (unless you’re selling them), but so is jaywalking. The irony is that if you’re caught with fireworks, lighting them off, etc., they must be confiscated and you are issued a fine anywhere from $10 to $100, where jaywalking holds the same fine mechanism in that you must pay the Clerk $1, the only difference is you MUST APPEAR, you can just mail in your fine money. If you do not appear for jaywalking you are in default and then you’re a CRIMINAL!! This obviously makes no sense but it’s how the law is written. So, go buy your fireworks in another state, bring them home, entertain your friends and family and if you’re lucky you will be spared a fine. If you’re responsible you’ll spare your neighbor the hassle of having his house repaired from fire damage.

  • Brandon

    fireworks should be legal sure people can get hurt but people can learn from mistakes and their actions of stupidity if we could just explore the freedom of having fireworks in the bay state besides we live in AMERICA!!!!

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