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.


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