Centralia Council Addresses Fireworks Restrictions

I agree with my councilmembers Sue Lound and Cameron McGee that an outright ban of all sale and discharge of fireworks is not in the best interest of our City.

I believe that shortening the dates of discharge, while allowing continued sales and discharges of state regulated fireworks, is the balance we need to maintain our Fourth of July spirit and compassion for others. The City of Tenino made a similar adjustment.

The issue is not legal discharges, but illegal discharges. A ban on fireworks altogether (as was discussed), punishes law abiding citizens and non-profits earning money for their “causes.” Punishing the majority of legal users of fireworks because of the minor illegal users is not logical.

The State Law allows for the purchase, sale, and discharge of fireworks during certain time periods. Government should be careful not to eliminate the exercise of rights based on an “annoyance” standard. There are many things in our community we find annoying, that fall short of illegal or criminally/civilly harassing. Annoying is NOT a standard to adopt.

Generally, the issue of firework discharge is about enforcing current laws. Regardless of date and time changes, without more, people violating the law are going to violate the law.

One key ingredient to a safe and celebratory Fourth of July for many is educating the public about the laws and then enforcing current laws. Government should not act so quickly to add or change laws without first identifying the breakdown in the current law.

Read more in the Chronicle.

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