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Question of the day

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Center Square

With fireworks readily available in neighboring states, a state senator says it’s time to legalize them in Illinois.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, has attempted to get a bill passed on more than one occasion, but can’t get Democrats to come on board.

“With the massive decline in state revenues due to the COVID, this would be an easy way to pick up some sales tax dollars and put some people to work in our state and they are just not interested,” Rose said.

Despite being illegal, Rose said fireworks already are here and the state is simply losing tax revenue to surrounding states that sell them. He estimates the state would bring in about $10 million a year in sales tax revenue.

Fire safety groups across the state are opposing any sort of legislation to legalize fireworks, something they said they already see enough injuries from. Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr thinks it is a bad idea.

“I enjoy a fireworks show, I like them,” Mohr said. “I think they are entertaining, but unfortunately they are dangerous and there needs to be a higher level of experience before someone is setting them off.”

The risk of misusing fireworks is real. According to the Illinois State Fire Marshall, there are an average of 18,000 fires caused by the improper use of fireworks every year.

Fireworks have been banned in Illinois since 1935 under what was dubbed the Fireworks Regulation Act.

* The Question: Should Illinois lift its ban on fireworks sales? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

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  1. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:18 pm:

    Voted no.

    =there are an average of 18,000 fires caused by the improper use of fireworks every year.=

    That’s why. You know, if the idiots who don’t know what they’re doing hurt only themselves and their own property, I might feel differently about it. But when they endanger me and my property (like the fools last July 4 who were shooting of fireworks in the alley behind my building, where everyone has wooden porches), it’s not something I want to encourage.

  2. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    This is like the debate of the DH, it seems to be regular “pop up issue” once a year for a few weeks then everyone forgets about the issue. The DH debate during the WS, fireworks for a couple of weeks in late June.

    I voted Yes, as long as you can buy them just by driving across state lines, we may as well get the revenue (like gaming in Rockford or Danville). You could limit their sale and use to one week prior to July 4th I suppose.

  3. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    I voted Yes - Other states have them legalized and this would allow the state to regulate and realize income that it is currently losing

  4. - Rand - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    For once I agree with a Trumpster. Yes. We need the revenue but they should only be sold to folks 21+. Tax it and maybe even emphasize safety. We can do this. Le us get to work.

  5. - SouthSideGT - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    I voted “yes” for continuing the ban. Not that it does much good. My neighborhood turns into a war zone in memory of the Fumbling Fathers and the founding of the Republic starting on Memorial Day and continuing through the Fourth and the last mattress sale. Whichever comes first, I guess. But the ban should continue in Illinois as a life line for the poor struggling fireworks dealers in Indiana and the medical trauma units in Chicago.

  6. - Might As Well - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    Might as well and get the revenue. Everyone is ignoring that they are illegal anyway. My neighbor has been putting on a quite a show the last few nights.

  7. - Lt Guv - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    I voted “no.” I love fireworks as much as anyone, but unlike smoking or drinking something in your own home, the use of fireworks can have negative consequences for others. Those with PTSD, pets, young children, etc. can all be terrified by the explosions, to say nothing of the fire possibilities. I fully realize the problem with easy availability in neighboring states, but we shouldn’t sanction it.

  8. - G falkes - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    If we can legalize pot we can legalize fireworks

  9. - GregN - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    No. We’ve seen how inconsiderate, rude behavior can be during this pandemic. If fireworks are even more accessible, that behavior will worsen. Idiots around here already have no regard for sere conditions or pet owners, and this is the worst I’ve seen already this year.
    Did I mention I voted no?

  10. - Intheknow - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    I voted to lift the ban. Illinois is a backward civilization that needs to get out from under the heavy debt they have gotten themselves into. Any chance to get dollars that are going across state lines is a must.

  11. - Aaron B - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    I voted yes to lift the ban. People are going to get fireworks that they want no matter what so we may as well get some tax revenue from it. Heck, some people probably only get them BECAUSE they are illegal in Illinois. While we’re getting the taxes we can also attempt to emphasize safety too.

  12. - Quibbler - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    I voted no, but I could be persuaded otherwise if we first implement robust mortgage/rent relief and contact tracing programs.

  13. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    Don’t lift the ban. As a senior citizen, I need my sleep. The 20-30 minute barrage put on by the city is enough.

    My dad is a retired physician. Even without looking at the calendar, he knew when the 4th of July was approaching. Kids would be coming into the hospital with fingers blown off, hands burned and maimed because of misuse of fire crackers.

  14. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    We legalized pot and gambling, why not get the additional revenue from conduct that is already happening in this state.

    Besides, aren’t bottle rockets and Roman candles covered under the 2nd Amendment?

  15. - Arock - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:46 pm:

    Yes, we legalize other offensive and destructive things for tax revenue why not fireworks. And I am tired of all the fireworks going off for the last couple months some until near midnight.

  16. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    I voted no-too many aren’t trained in the proper use and handling. And on a personal note-I will require extra special surgery to remove a catastrophic cataract I have due to a fireworks injury that happened 60 years ago.

  17. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    No. Beyond public health reasons, one can posit legalizing private firework use is anti-veteran (PTSD issues). [Sarcasm font on] Now, if we implement an additional tax on fireworks sales to fund necessary medical & psychological services for PTSD sufferers … [Sarcasm font off]

  18. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    Voted yes. Will be hearing private fireworks purchased in Wisconsin being set off this weekend. In fact they have been going off for the past two weeks. We may as well legalize them and tax them.

  19. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    I voted no. Since I was a small child, we’ve been told by fire chiefs and health officials that fireworks are dangerous. Now, because we could get tax revenue from them, suddenly they’re NOT dangerous? Give me a break.

    Earlier posters have pointed out that America is swimming in irresponsibility and incivility. Why should I and many others have our sleep disrupted and our dogs scared to death because some jack..anapes won’t be considerate of his neighbors?

    If cities have noise ordinances against playing your music at jet engine noise levels, why would it be fine to have unlimited explosions?

    Instead of ‘Land of Lincoln,’ we could get a new state motto: ‘Illinois: We’re a Sucker for Anything.’

  20. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    Yes. People in every part of the state already purchase and publicly use them, might as well buy them here.

  21. - KBS - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    I voted no. Fireworks actually create a ridiculous and dangerous amount of air and water pollution.

  22. - West Sider - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    No. My dog is about have a nervous breakdown. It’s not harmless and it’s not fun- its low cost terrorism.

  23. - Amurica - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    Yes. Might as well realize the revenue. Half the cars at Missouri shops are from Illinois. Make the minimum age 18 to purchase though.

  24. - What's in a name? - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    Yup, tax the crap out of them.

  25. - Benjamin - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:05 pm:

    I voted no. The fireworks are already so loud and so late in my neighborhood in Chicago that my wife is sleeping in the basement. Legalizing their sale here is unlikely to make them used in a more respectful manner, and is almost certainly going to lead to the opposite.

  26. - JT11505 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    My dog woofed no.

  27. - SSL - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Voted no. Outside of professionals that do this for a living, no one is trained to use fireworks. They are dangerous as evidenced by the injuries they cause. And for what purpose? Those considered old enough to use them should be over the need to blow things up. Younger people don’t understand the dangers and often use poor judgment.

    This is a good issue to hold ourselves to a higher standard than our neighbors.

  28. - Banish Misfortune - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    They are too dangerous. I have a couple of ophthalmologists in my family, they could always count on seeing eye injuries, including the loss of an eye most years.

  29. - SOIL M - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    No. Already go to MO for gas, cigarettes, and most other things so might as well keep buying them there. Boomland wouldnt be what it is without IL customers.
    Why try to bring in more business when we have run so much out.

  30. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    Voted No…because you’ll put your eye out.

  31. - Truthiness - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    = Despite being illegal, Rose said fireworks already are here and the state is simply losing tax revenue to surrounding states that sell them. He estimates the state would bring in about $10 million a year in sales tax revenue.=

    Same argument for cannabis legalization. Already here, missing out on taxes. How did Rose vote on HB1438 again? Oh that’s right he voted no…

  32. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    I voted no. Obviously if you want them they are easy to get. But there are too many people inconsiderate of others so why make it easier for them.
    On the other hand Krazy Kaplan would probably rent out about 50 storefronts so landlords would probably want this.

  33. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    Voted no. Hate to lose those annual trip to Shelton and the other quaint features of Pencesylvania

  34. - Active retired union member - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    I voted no. Too many years of dealing with damage caused by supposed adults playing with illegal fireworks

  35. - Nilwood - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Voted yes. I’m not sure if it would change much. We’ve had a couple of hours of fireworks every night for nearly two weeks already this year. Illinois should get something out of it.

  36. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    If the ban isn’t going to be enforced, and clearly it isn’t, then all we’re doing is leaving sales tax revenue on the table.

    I don’t care for the random amateur fireworks shows we get every night, but since they aren’t going to stop, we might as well get something for our trouble.

  37. - yinn - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    No. With two grassbowls in the neighborhood, we’ve seen fireworks fly over our roof and found spent bottle rockets near our nylon-covered gazebo. They’re a menace.

  38. - Nathan - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    So other states want to sell a fire/safety risk, so we should also? I don’t think so.

  39. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    Voted no. Although it’s anecdotal, I’m willing to bet at least one member of every extended family has someone injured (mostly minor, some major) by fireworks.

  40. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    I voted yes. People have been crossing state lines for decades to buy fireworks. We might as well legalize them at least for the sales tax revenue. I made the trek to Missouri and filled up on cheaper Missouri gas while I was at it.

  41. - bogey golfer - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Voted ‘no’. Just another thing we legalize and tax and then we wonder why we are the society we are today.

  42. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:19 pm:


    If you live on a farm, light off fireworks until you blow your hand off for all I care.

    The problem is people in residential areas doing it, because their trash and burning embers falls on property that is not theirs and is putting others at risk.

    At this point, every firework that goes off in a residential area is just another reminder how utterly useless local police departments are.

    For those who enjoy it - how much more money are you going to spend on products from China?

  43. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    N O

    Let’s all take a moment to think about how a Republican who would refund the Affordable Care Act wants to legalize something that creates a large amount of injuries and property destruction.

    “Personal responsibility” my tuchus.

  44. - Mason born - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    Yes, lift the ban leave it up to municipalities to enact their own ordinances as strict or loose as the residents wish. Maybe then it’ll be enforced.

  45. - CJA - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    Voted Yes. People are already using them now, get some money. The same argument was used for legalize pot. People who want fireworks (or marijuana) are gonna get them another way. Let’s get our due.

  46. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    ===leave it up to municipalities to enact their own ordinances===

    Dirty little secret of how many municipalities are run, is that they often duplicate state laws into local ordinances to give them more local control - specifically control over being able to keep all the fines instead of that money going to the state.

    Every single municipality around me already has a local ordinance against fireworks. Their incompetent police forces just don’t seem to be enforcing it.

  47. - snowman61 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    voted no. It will just be another problem of too much and nobody will be able to stop it

  48. - Nameless - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    Voted yes - why shouldn’t kids today have the same fun we did when we were young? I’ll never forget the fun I had with my 1/2 case of cherry bombs ad 1/2 case of silver salutes.

  49. - Mogo - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 4:01 pm:

    I understand everyone complaining about fireworks going off at all times and every day. Leaving the sales to the surrounding states doesn’t stop it. Why do we keep letting ways to get increased revenue escape us? Limit when they can be sold and set off. Increase the fines for breaking both.

  50. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    Voted yes. If folks are allowed to purchase all but automatic weapons, then I see no reason not to allow fireworks. I mean it’s a difference between something that could cause 10s of deaths vs. something that might cause an accidental fire or injury.

  51. - Enviro - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 4:41 pm:

    Voted no. Too many young people are injured by fireworks. Everyone knows that fireworks are dangerous. That is why only professionals should be allowed to display fireworks.

  52. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 5:01 pm:

    No. it’s bad enough here now, if sales were legal it would be worse and more people would get injured. On behalf of cats and dogs and Vets with PTSD, no.

  53. - AlfondoGonz - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 5:21 pm:

    Voted no. People are dumb; especially young people. The way my friends and I used fireworks….

    Voted no.

  54. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 6:31 pm:

    No. My aunt had a serious leg injury from fireworks some kid threw. I agree that they should be limited to professionals,

  55. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 6:52 pm:

    If you have to drive out of state to purchase fireworks, you are more likely to stock up. That leaves IL residents with excess inventory to light. If they could buy fireworks down the street, they’d have no reason to buy more than a day’s supply. Result is fewer fireworks being ignited.

  56. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 6:58 pm:

    Voted yes. Prohibition hasn’t worked for fireworks. It didn’t work for drugs or alcohol and John Adams thought it was a correct way to celebrate our Nation.

  57. - West Side the Best Side - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 7:12 pm:

    Trying again. Former next door neighbor was in USMC during Tet Offensive and spent a lot of time around the 4th in his basement. Unless it’s regulated people will be idiots. So voted No for Doug.Semper Fi.

  58. - RDB - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 8:35 pm:

    For those concerned about fires…cigarettes can cause fires as well; one just needs to know how to use them properly. Same with fireworks. Most private citizens can only afford to buy smaller ones anyway, not the large ones. Yes, 100 percent.

  59. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 10:34 pm:

    I’d be a yes if cities actually gave a care about protecting their citizens. But they don’t so why encourage more bad behavior. Nobody should set off fireworks in municipalities, but very few police departments seem to care, even at 10:30 PM. Also, at least with them being illegal the people who cause damage can have their insurance claims denied for illegal activity. Having to pay out of pocket can be a sobering consequence.

  60. - Eddy - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 10:44 pm:

    I voted no. 32 years as a paramedic and Fire Fighter. Many trips in my ambulance to the ER with devistating injuries. I was in a few fires with propane tank explosions. And don’t forget about our Blessed Vets and our pets. We need to keep the ban, AND increase the penalties. Leave it to the professionals and after we have a vaccine. Stay safe everyone.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Afternoon roundup
* Question of the day
* DCFS responds to yet another explosive report
* Todd Maisch
* Civic Committee wants to invest tens of millions of dollars, create thousands of jobs to pull off ambitious crime-prevention program
* Yes, we have big problems, but we're most certainly not alone
* Bills that didn’t make the cut
* Why is this allowed to happen in plain sight?
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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