June 20, 2011
BOSTON — As the Fourth of July approaches, one Massachusetts lawmaker wants to end the state's long-held ban on the sale of fireworks.
Gardner State Rep Rich Bastien says Bay State residents are sneaking over the border to other New England states to buy fireworks.
“At this point, anybody in Massachusetts can drive within an hour to go purchase fireworks, every night they’re being used in our communities. The ban is ineffective. So my point is let’s legalize it, let’s put some common sense regulations in, and let’s keep the revenue and the jobs in the state,” Bastien said.
It’s illegal for Massachusetts residents to bring in fireworks from other states, but Bastien says it happens all the time and it’s costing the Bay State money — about $40 million, according to his estimates. So Bastien's filed a bill that would legalize the sale of fireworks in the commonwealth. But using them would still be illegal without registering with the local fire department.
The Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts says changing current law could lead to an increase in injuries and strain fire departments’ resources. Massachusetts is one of just four states — along with New York, New Jersey and Delaware — with a complete ban on fireworks. The new bill is currently under review by the Legislature's Committee on Public Safety.
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