City Government

City Vows To Enforce Fireworks Laws

Last year Boise officialdom sort of threw in the towel when it came to enforcing fireworks law over the July Fourth holiday. Police Chief Mike Masterson said it is nearly impossible to enforce city laws when they differ from state law.

In 2005 he said the answer was to complain to the legislature–not the Boise Cops. Seems that Team Dave has had a change of heart this year. Mayor Dave Bieter issued a statement saying extra FIRE INSPECTORS would be out in force to enforce the law. Call non-emergency dispatch at 377-6790 to report violations. We hope the cops write a few tickets as well.
foothills fire.jpg

Fireworks are banned in the foothills from Warm Springs Mesa to Seamans Gulch. Last year there were fires, and injuries including burns, buts, and a lost eye due to illegal fireworks use.

The GUARDIAN advocated an outright ban on fireworks. It makes no sense to sell “arson kits” to kids for a week and tell them not to play for matches the rest of the year.

There is nothing patriotic about burning your city and injuring your kids.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. There’s nothing patriotic about limiting rights, either. But that’s what you advocate. Time and time again.

  2. Since the subject has come up I thought I would offer some facts about the Fireworks laws in Idaho. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible.

    First of all you must know there are basically three groups of fireworks. Display, commercial, and then a subgroup of commercial fireworks most people know as safe and sane. Display fireworks are federally regulated based on the amount of explosive charge contained in them. These are the shells you see at professional fireworks shows.

    Commercial fireworks consist of all the smaller type devices. Things such as bottle rockets, roman candles, 2 inch mortor devices, firecrackers, piccolo petes etc. These are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and as far as the federal government are concerned are legal to sell and use. These are the types of things you will see at most fireworks stands in Idaho (outside Boise City.) There is a sub group of commercial fireworks usually called safe and sane. These consist of all the commercial devices that do not fly or explode. These are the stationary ground blooms, piccolo petes, most fountains, etc.

    Idaho state law makes it illegal to USE anything except safe and sane fireworks in the state. Which means that anything that flys (bottle rockets, mortor shells, roman candles, etc.) or explodes (firecrackers) is illegal and has been for many years.

    However, the legislature in their wisdom has decided that it is OK to sell any commercial firework in the state. Even if you break the law when you light it. This is the part that makes no sense. What the state fire marshall was trying to get fixed was to close this “export loophole”. It would be like making the use of methamphetamine illegal but the sale completely legal as long as the buyer agrees he is not going to get high in Idaho. The legislature needs to either close the loophole or legalize the use. As it sits now they are making criminals out of people that often times don’t know they are breaking the law.

    They just bought some fireworks from a corner stand and want to light them. Or they have you sign an export agreement so when you burn down the neighborhood they can dodge any liability.

    The City of Boise and probably a few other local governments in Idaho further restricts the sale of the Idaho illegal stuff but all one has to do is drive an extra mile or two to buy their explosive of choice.

    So this year as the bottle rockets are raining down on your shake roof look out over the city and see all the people that are committing crimes with fireworks they legally purchased down the street.

  3. Seems like (No) dot Name brings up a good issue for debate — the difference between rights and wrongs. I suspect there are instances where those taking away rights are doing so to avoid the wrongs the rest of us encounter. For example, requiring drivers to wear seatbelts or bikers to wear helmets takes away their right to escalate the likelihood of injuring or killing themselves. That would be fine, except the rest of us often get “wronged” when we pick up the tab on catastrophic insurance costs or suits that could have been prevented if protection was mandatory. In the case of fireworks, burning up other people’s property (or even the general public’s property) is another wrong that often results from the individual right to have fireworks. Keep in mind too, Boise Guardian only seems to advocate taking away the rights of people when it decides it’s appropriate and when it’s seen as being a benefit to the public — an approach much like that often used by elected officials when they do the same thing. Hmmm. Gets complicated, doesn’t it? (Maybe that’s why it’s so easy sometimes to find something to fault with those elected who make hundreds of such decisions).

  4. I have a right to enjoy my backyard barbeque with family on the 4th. I have a right to have my pets be the healthy happy dogs they are bred and raised to be. Unfortunately, those who would BREAK THE LAW by setting off illegal fireworks ruined my backyard barbeque last year and the year prior AND my dogs both need to be medicated now because of the trauma they suffered.

    I’m all for limiting the rights of others to infringe on mine…I think that’s very patriotic. In fact it is the notion the founding fathers espoused. Being a patriotic and grateful citizen doesn’t have anything to do with selfishness, failing to follow existing laws, or infringing on one’s neighbors. I don’t want to breathe your cigarette smoke, listen to your choice of music, or have your bombs bursting in air over my barbeque. People SHOULD NOT confuse patriotism with anarchy!

  5. I am having trouble thinking of examples of the GUARDIAN advocating limiting rights of citizens. All I have ever seen from the GUARDIAN is preservation of the rights of the people and limiting the infringement by governments wanting to do things without a vote. What am I missing here?

  6. Come On Guardian

    Have you been over in France to long at the Topless beaches?? I mean don’t you understand that the City of Boise makes money off of the permits from the fire works stands that you see all over Boise. And don’t you understand that a lot of the fire works stands are being sold by charities?

    Forgot the fact that city probably spends more money putting out fires than they make from the permits…

    Think about all the people that come into to town to buy fireworks, and the people that take fire works up to hills on camping trips and start fires up there. I mean what else does the BLM and the USFS have to do this time of year other than to put out fire…You are talking about taking away their jobs.

    Some times I think you may be a communist

    Happy 4th of July

    PS The foothill ban goes farther than the Mesa.. goes over to Harris Ranch which is in the city limits now…Get your facts right you communist you!

  7. Another PS Guardian
    I talked to many Mommy and Daddys this weekend at the soccer playoff and they told me if Boise doesn’t get a new convention center that they will never come back

    See you were wrong again

  8. Hey Porcupine. You wouldn’t be pokin’ fun at us, would you?

  9. “AND my dogs both need to be medicated now because of the trauma they suffered.” — Tam

    Have you tried calling a pet psychic? I hear they can work wonders on troubled pets. Or perhaps you haven’t been taking them to church regularly, so the Holy Ghost could touch them too.

  10. Steve
    Pokin’ fun at you…. No way…

    I just get soooo upset when the Guardian seems to talk with some common sense. It’s just not…. well… Idahoan

    I mean its just like him asking for parking spaces for scooters. What is he think about. We need to encourage more SUV’s downtown. This is Idaho

  11. Wonder if people like “name said” cotton to the rights of people who want to burn the flag as a form of expression? Isn’t lighting fireworks a form of “patriotic” expression? Perhaps he thinks I should wrap myself in a wet flag and watch my roof burn and think it’s ok because some idiot was expressing his patriotic furvor with an errant rockets red glare. Knee jerk “rights” advocates like “name said” usually want to only protect a set of rights that define their own interests, and trample the rights of everyone else. They are always the first to say “I got my rights, so **** you”.

  12. Hey Guardian,

    How about starting an on line store for us members to buy t shirts and coffee mugs, etc. Sure would be nice to see someone with a Guardian T on so that I could turn them into the police when they are shooting off fire works… I think that the Guardian readers should go first.

  13. Lew,
    I don’t need a doggy psychic, but thanks, and I don’t know what church you go to, buy mine isn’t really set up for pooches. “No name” thinks setting off fireworks is his “right”. I was merely making the case that he has no right to turn my 4th into madness.

  14. Who can afford those fancy imported fireworks? They are SPENDY – especially for the illegal kind! (I tried to find some discount fireworks on the Internet, but all I can see is some stupid “Fireworks” software! Fireworks on your computer screen? Booorrrrrr-ingggg! zzzzzz)

    Do what I do – I just get me a couple boxes of tracer ammo and my rifle, and head for the foothills on the night of July 4th. (Humming about “rockets red glare” as the cheat-grass bursts into flames.)

    You think Francis Scott Key, or those dudes on Mount Rushmore, ever got whiny about illegal fireworks? I think not!!!

  15. Bikeboy–
    “Who can afford those fancy imported fireworks? ”

    Give me a call I still have some illegal left over from last year!!!

    EDITOR NOTE–The GUARDIAN will not allow this site to be used for illegal purposes. Porc should advertise in the local printed paper like the other vendors.

  16. I think “fun” should be a patriotic right. Boise could be the first town in the USA to “legalize fun”.

  17. “I don’t need a doggy psychic, but thanks…” -Tam

    Not for you… for your pet!

    “and I don’t know what church you go to, buy mine isn’t really set up for pooches.” -Tam

    You mean the God you worship isn’t pet-friendly? Perhaps another religion is in order. I know of several that consider animals a part of God’s kingdom. You don’t see Hindus eating cows, do you?

    “No_name thinks setting off fireworks is his “right”. I was merely making the case…” -Tam

    I know, I know… but I think my post was funnier than No_name’s. People who know the least about civil liberties and the dispensation of justice are often the most vocal with regard to same. They are quick on the draw, and short on the wit. No_name’s comment falls into this category.

  18. But apparently it is patriotic in this country to burn cities and injure kids as long as they are Iraqi.

  19. Oh, Great! Put a “War in Iraq” spin on the Boise fireworks story!

    (Guardian… I’m surprised you’d post such an off-topic comment. Pathetic.)

    EDITOR NOTE–We get nailed for censorship and for NOT censoring. The comment was off topic, but bound to spur comments as well.

  20. Sorry bikeboy. I was late to the post and when I read the last line I just couldn’t help myself because the Guardian invoked what it meant to be a patriot and what we stand for as a country.

    I agree with the Guardian that the pursuit of celebration can cause us to lose sight of the objective of observing our Independence Day as a day of pride in incorporating the ideals of the founding fathers into government for the common good and protecting the individual’s right to be free from government in certain circumstances.

    Perhaps during the Fourth we can reflect on and determine for ourselves how we can preserve and further the goals of the drafters of the greatest document ever penned, the Constitution. And in so doing we can also determine what is not important in achieving those goals, like fireworks.

  21. I tend to think of fireworks – in the hands of “responsible adults” (?) and away from tinder – are a rather innocuous form of civil disobedience. But others raise valid points – as we hear, see, and smell the evidence far into the night every year (on July 4th and New Year’s Day) it can be rather obnoxious, disrupt our own quieter celebrations, scare off our critters, etc.

    What’s with “Team Dave” not providing ANY fireworks this year???!? Isn’t it somewhere in the City Charter, that the city will present a tasteful fireworks exhibition every Independence Day? Mayor Brent would have been too ashamed to show his face, if we’d missed a year during HIS watch!

    I agree with Sysyphus, regarding how important it is to reflect on the true meaning of independence. It was gained at a heavy cost, and it isn’t free… we have a duty to remain diligent in preserving our freedom. (In more important ways than depriving us of our Right to Bear and Ignite Fireworks.) We owe it to ourselves, and to those who paved the way before us.

    God bless America!

  22. Jon Q Publique
    Jun 27, 2006, 10:28 pm

    Me thinks “Name” takes “My Private Idaho” a little too seriously.

    I’ve always thought, at least when living in Idaho, that it was a Constitutional right to bear and ignite fireworks.

  23. The Grand Pooh-Bah
    Jul 2, 2006, 1:23 pm

    Fireworks can be dangerous if not handled properly! So can automobiles, knives, cell phones, BBQ’s, scissors, stairs, dogs, words, glass and prescription drugs. Should we band all of these things from our lives too?

    My dog hates fireworks too! I give her a doggy downer and tell her to deal with it. I’m celebrating the 4th of July just as my forefathers did. And when the clock hits midnight on Jan 1 I’ll be celebrating again.

    If you don’t like it take a doggy downer and call me in the morning.

    God Bless America! Land of the FREE and the BRAVE!

  24. I guess the fact that we are the land of the FREE and the BRAVE also means we are the land of the idiots, the irresponsible, the obnoxious and the arrogant. I think I missed that in Civics class.

  25. shoot off fireworks or complain about the people shooting off fireworks?

    Either way your all being selfish!

    You complain about your right to not have to put up with other people’s loud music and them almost burning down your house with fireworks but on the other hand the others complain about not being able to use their fireworks because everyone wants peace and quiet and doesn’t want the stupid grass to burn.

    NON FIREWORKER USER: I can’t stand the smell of smoke, I can’t stand it when my dogs get scared, I can’t stand the noise, I’m afraid my house is going to burn down blah blah blah.

    FIREWORK USERS: Its my right as an american to light off fireworks, I don’t care if the grass lights on fire, I don’t care if I ruin your BBQ cause I’m havin fun at mine blah blah blah.

    Maybe if we started building are own sound proof, fire proof, idiot proof domes in our little own selfish worlds then we wouldn’t have to complain about someone else enjoying tryin to relax and have fun.


    Fires will never go away, if their not from fireworks then there from lightning, cigarette buts or maybe someone forgot to put out a camp fire.
    People being injured will never stop wether it be from idiot use of fireworks or from car wrecks, people shooting other people or just your own body giving up on you.

    The dogs will forget it happened by the next morning and will all move on to the next thing we can complain about. YAY for humankind!
    Maybe we should change that to humanselfish cause we’re anything but kind to other people.

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