Commishes Make Annual Fireworks Threat

Each year the Ada Commishes pass a temporary ban on the use of fireworks in unincorporated Ada County–the area outside cities and fire districts.
They send out a grave press release declaring anyone violating the ordinance can be fined $1,000, sentenced to 6 months in jail–or both. Idle threats if you look at the facts.

Truth is, the enforcement people don’t ever catch the folks tossing the fire starters. Last year NOT A SINGLE TICKET was issued according to the Ada Sheriff. In fact during the past 4 years they tell the GUARDIAN the average number of tickets was 3.

Getting people to obey fireworks laws is like getting local governments to abide by the Idaho Constitution–they do as they please. You want to stop illegal fireworks and use of fireworks by kids and drunks, you gotta put the vendors out of business…stop making the stuff! It worked with leaded gas.

Each year the GUARDIAN laments: “It is absurd to tell kinds to not play with matches for 50 weeks of the year and then let them buy arson kits in the strip mall parking lots for two weeks and tell them to be careful.” When the little rascals go to play with the grassfire starters the only place to get away from mom is in the vacant lot of course.

With high volume vendors in Elmore and Canyon counties selling all sorts of fireworks and asking people to simply sign a paper saying they won’t use them in Idaho or in Ada County you create a whole bunch of patriotic criminals.

We suggest –as we always do–limiting fireworks to sanctioned displays by trained technicians.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Grumpy ole guy
    Jun 27, 2008, 2:31 am

    I couldn’t agree more whole-heartedly. Unless and until a ban on the sale and use of all fireworks by individuals is achieved we’re going to continue to see injuries, fires and irate neighbors. There simply is no reason NOT to ban the sale, distribution and use of fireworks.

  2. Hey, that’s un-Murakin! U some kinda commiered er somthin?

    Besides, not everybody buys the biggies in Elmore and
    Canyon (and at a few of those places in Ada); some folks go to Wyoming and come back with truckloads.

    You just don’t want us’ns to have any fun.

  3. Instead of banning fireworks altogether, why not just charge for the true cost of fireworks. Tax fireworks so any costs government might have in responding to injuries, fires, or other related issues are covered by the revenue from fireworks sales. Otherwise government is subsidizing the true cost. Isn’t this what we are doing with cigarettes, another type of firework?

  4. Glen Tarmack
    Jun 27, 2008, 9:20 am

    The root of the problem lies with the Legislature. The State’s fireworks law clearly states what is legal and what is illegal. Then, there is an exception tacked onto the end of the legislation (put there years ago by the lobby for the fireworks makers) making the sale, purchase and posession of all the ‘illegal’ stuff OK as long as it is intended for ‘export’.

    So, John Q. Public buys a trunk-load of bombs and rockets, signs a bogus form (that has no basis in law) that says he’s going out-of-state to shoot off his arsenal of pyro, then takes them home in the City, County or where ever.

    On the night of the 4th, enforcement people are outnumbered 5,000 to 1. There is no possible way for enforcement to make a dent. This problem will never get better until the Legislature grows a set and stops giving in to the fireworks industry lobby.

  5. Hey, Gordan, have another beer. It’s the American way of life. Especially at 3 in the morning. LOL

    I have a rule for myself – never blog after more than three drinks. Usually works, not always. Although I do think I’m more creative after two.

    Back to the subject at hand:

    We sometimes have someone set off a few fire crackers in our street, which are legal, but someone in the neighborhood gets the big ones. We still have cedar shake roofs in our area and it can get scary, not to mention noisy.

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 27, 2008, 10:09 pm

    Fireworks don’t start fires, people do!

    Prohibition has never worked, for anything. You might as well try to ban people.

  7. Good Idea Rod!
    Lets ban people!
    I like it.

  8. The Fireworks Industry Lobby???
    Are you serious? Just how much “pull” do they have? And while you are at it, just WHO are they? The only reason IMO that the legislature hasn’t changed the existing laws is because A: The calls from the citizens complaining about little Johnny’s “right” to blow something up,would drive them crazy.
    B: They are powerless against the “reservation” sales and are afraid they would be getting complaints if that was the only source for fireworks.

    EDITOR NOTE–Explore their site it appears they have positions on imports and hold an influential seat on regulatory agencies. They are taking on the NY legislature among others.

  9. It would be ineresting to know if they have “lobbied” any elected officials in Idaho. I could find no evidence they have.

  10. Hey, banning people ain’t too bad an idea. Can’t figure out who (or what) would enforce it, though.

    As for banning fireworks — yeah, it’d stop them for sure. Just like prohibition stopped booze, laws against murder stopped homicides, laws against burglaries keep everybody’s possessions safe, and no woman ever has to fear rape again, cuz it’s illegal, right?

    Oh, well. If we obey the ban on firecrackers, for example, it’s not too serious. We can still make loud noises. 12-gauge shotguns, .357 handguns, etc., are legal, and make really fun noises.

    Or, go to any mining area, and it’s pretty easy to pick up a few sticks of dynamite (as kids, we used to steal them from a mine, cut them in half, put a cap and fuse in each half, light’ em and throw ’em. Better booms than cherry bombs, even!
    Molotov cocktails were fun, too. And fill a large can with water, seal it up and pop it with a .30-30, and see what happens.

    Bans just make people more creative (as in bathtub gin, moonshine, etc.).

    So it doesn’t much matter.

  11. Glen Tarmack
    Jun 30, 2008, 1:09 pm

    The current Idaho law is the result of an Idaho Supreme Court case back in the mid 90’s.
    “How much pull do they have?” A ton.
    And, Cyclops, you won’t find “evidence” of lobbying, except in the final draft of legislation, and you have to read between the lines.

  12. Hey Dave, how about we ban fishing?

    Same arguments, a lot of fishermen litter and leave big tangles of fishing line along the banks. Some have been known to drink and kill people while driving home. Fishermen also often have to travel lone distances, this pollutes the environment and drives up gas prices for everyone else.

    I say that fishing should be limited to the trained professionals that appear on TV fishing shows and we can all just watch them. I’ll fire off a couple of mortars this 4th for you Dave! 🙂

    In all seriousness, allowing the selling of fireworks that are illegal in the state is like allowing pot to be sold by licensed dealers as long as the buyers sign a form that says they’ll go to Amsterdam to smoke it.

  13. I like the comment from Gordon: “Bans just make people more creative (as in bathtub gin, moonshine, etc.)”

    This is what it all comes down to. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks our country and state’s governments are out of control these days. Sure they do some good things now and then, and yes, we do need some laws in place for truly important matters, but there has to be some point (hopefully anyway!) when you liberal jokers will decide to finally draw the line with this nonsense. Banning everything that might possibly become a problem for someone on our planet and just giving the gov. officials the green light for whatever kooky ideas they come up with (or someone comes up with for them) is exactly what got us in our current mess in the first place. We need to put our feet down and stand our ground at some point and say enough is enough. Stop trying to ban everything in sight, stop trying to pass new laws that are not really important and start using some reason in your thinking!

    Just sit back at home or go to the park tomorrow and enjoy the fireworks. I know that some of you pissy old people can’t manage to wrap your minds around the idea of actually having a good time and enjoying yourselves, but heck, it’s the 4th of July…you know…the day we CELEBRATE our independence….so just do all of us and yourselves a favor and try to enjoy some fireworks whether they be in the park or on your street from Joe Shmoe that brought that truckload of biggies in from Wyoming to shoot them off down the street. Hopefully he won’t aim them at your precious cedar shaker roof that’s a damn safety hazard in the first place and just begging to spontaneously combust and cause a house fire on a hot day. If you’re nervous about it, have your hose on the ready grandpa.

    Otherwise, stay home in your basement to pout and worry yourself to sleep with ear plugs on so you don’t have to listen to the big scary bang-bangs outside. Stay out of the hair of We The People who actually get some pleasure out of life and don’t want you trying to get “OUR” government to tell us what you want us to do and not do.

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