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City Council passes bill to limit consumer use of fireworks

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 4:37 p.m. HST, Sep 22, 2010


The City Council voted 7-2 to pass a bill this afternoon that would ban the use of all consumer fireworks except small amounts of firecrackers on holidays and special circumstances.

The new law, which is expected to be signed by acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell in the next 10 working days, would not take effect until Jan. 2 giving Oahu residents one more year of New Year's Eve pyrotechnics.

Under the new law, Oahu adults would still be able to purchase up to 5,000 firecrackers for every $25 firecracker permit they obtain from the city.

But everything from sparklers to so-called "paperless" firecrackers would be banned.

Proponents said the law is necessary to prevent injuries to those who use them, as well as the ill effects on those with respiratory issues. They also blame fireworks for fires to structures and brush.

Opponents said stricter laws against consumer fireworks won't stop the problems caused by illegal aerial fireworks that continue to make their way into the state. 

Voting for the bill were members Ikaika Anderson, Todd Apo, Donovan Dela Cruz, Lee Donohue, Nestor Garcia, Gary Okino and Ann Kobayashi. Opposed were  Romy Cachola and Rod Tam. Anderson and Kobayashi remained silent during the vote, which count as yes. 

Council members said they are allowing one more holiday for consumer fireworks so businesses wouldn't be burdened with product they could not sell.

Opponents warned that while allowances would be allowed for firecrackers, it would be economically infeasible for legitimate fireworks purveyors to bring a limited amount in without the additional profits now brought in by other fireworks. That would create a black market economy of fireworks, they said.


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