Most cities in Orange County have banned the sale and setting off of fireworks to and by the general public for safety reasons. Of course, fireworks are an Independence Day tradition, so most cities also put on professional displays on the Fourth of July.

But a lot of people like the hands-on experience of setting off fireworks themselves. This leaves them with three choices:

  1. Go somewhere where setting off your own fireworks is legal.
  2. Shrug it off.
  3. Sneak around and hope you don’t get caught.

#1 is getting harder all the time as more cities clamp down on fireworks. #2, I imagine, is unsatisfying. #3 is stupid, because chances are pretty good that you’ll either get unsafe fireworks, or use them unsafely (because you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re setting off explosives), and end up burning someone, or burning their house down, or starting a 75-acre brush fire because you went out into the boonies in hopes that no one would catch you, but didn’t think about the fact that you were surrounded by dry grass.

So here’s my proposal:

If you’re going to ban fireworks, instead of banning them outright, set aside a designated area where people can set them off themselves.. Fairgrounds and/or large parking lots would be good for this. The Great Park, perhaps? Keep fire crews on standby. Limit the number of people so that you can evacuate safely if something goes wrong. Limit the types of fireworks people are allowed to bring in so that it’s hard for them to bring in homemade crap that’s more likely to blow off their hands than make a nice show.

It will never happen in today’s litigious society, of course. The first time someone broke the rules and someone else got hurt, people would start suing the city because it should have been safe! Even if it was a private company running the event, they’d get sued, along with the property owner for allowing it to happen, and the city for allowing them to run it in the first place.

2 thoughts on “Fireworks Ban

  1. I like your proposal, but as someone who has set off their own fireworks every year in Orange County for as long as I can remember, I feel compelled to point out that option number 3 is not necessarily stupid. It’s easy to buy safe, commercially-produced fireworks of all types right across the border in Nevada – but 80% of those are banned in California because of litigation-fearing cities and counties. They’re not at all unsafe unless you use them stupidly, and anyone who uses them stupidly because they’re illegal would probably have used them stupidly anyway. I may or may not have used option 3 once or several times, and I have never witnessed any injury or property damage worse than a burned thumb (and that was from the lighter, not the firework).

    People are dangerous. Fireworks are just one of the things people use in stupid ways.

    Also, your giant lot idea would be great, but very smoky and loud… also, there would still be people there being stupid with their fireworks, and it would be much harder to avoid them with no intervening structures. 🙂

    • I guess stupid was the wrong word. I should have said risky. The whole post was prompted by reading about the brush fire that broke out on Sunday. The way I see it, hiding an activity always adds to the level of risk.

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