Area state lawmakers believe the state’s ban on consumer fireworks should be blown up.
A bill to legalize fireworks in Illinois was introduced last month by state Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake.
State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, said he sees more than one reason to support the bill.
“It’s no secret that Illinois is in a hole financially, so my colleagues and I have been exploring many new revenue streams for the state. Fiscal impact aside, I believe that the ban of fireworks in Illinois is an affront to our personal freedoms and is an example of the state believing that it knows what’s best for us. I look forward to discussion on this bill later this year on the House floor,” Long said.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, also believes it’s time to ease up on pyrotechnics.
“This comes up every year, but I’m surprised the bill never moves. I have no problem with legalizing fireworks. We should get the revenue, because right now, everyone is going across the border into Indiana,” Rezin said.
Rezin added fireworks are virtually legal now, as they’re not hard to obtain in neighboring states. Rezin noted she is concerned about safety, but again, people are shooting them off anyway in Illinois.
In 2017, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 349 fireworks injuries statewide. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual fireworks report reveals there were 12,900 fireworks-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments nationwide in 2017.
Of the 349 state cases, Illinois hospitals treated 16 dismemberment or amputation injuries in peak summertime months last year, the state fire marshal’s office reported.
In addition to bodily harm, property damage is another safety concern. An average of 18,000 fires are reported each year as a result of improper use of fireworks, according to the state fire marshal’s office.
Illinois is one of four states that ban the sale, purchase and use of consumer fireworks, such as bottle rockets and Roman candles. Such fireworks have been illegal in Illinois since 1942.
The only fireworks legal in the state are items such as sparklers, smoke bombs and party popper noisemakers.