Illinois 1 of 3 states banning fireworks freedom

Illinois 1 of 3 states banning fireworks freedom

State lawmakers are no closer to trusting Illinoisans with fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. Forty-seven other states give their residents that freedom.

Come this Independence Day, Illinoisans will again miss out on celebrating freedom with the flair of a flare. Illinois is one of three states banning some or all fireworks.

The other 47 states celebrate freely without facing significant restrictions or fines like in Illinois. In Rockford, fireworks fines start at $750 per violation, a high cost to pay for those who want to celebrate their freedom.

Since 1942, the Illinois Pyrotechnic Use Act has prohibited residents from buying and using fireworks other than novelty fireworks such as sparklers and smoke bombs.

Violating the law is a Class A misdemeanor, with fines ranging from $75 to $2,500. The law doesn’t stop Illinoisans from celebrating the nation’s independence with the rockets’ red glare.

Fireworks use from 2022 to 2023 dropped by nearly half, but injuries were essentially the same.

If used carelessly, fireworks can lead to serious injury. But laws should be made to penalize those who act irresponsibly, not to remove freedoms from responsible citizens – and especially not on a day all about celebrating our freedom and honoring those who helped us achieve it.

While fire and explosions are dangerous, proponents of the Illinois fireworks ban argue limiting the sale of fireworks to novelty items reduces the chance of residents seriously injuring themselves. Statistics show there is little logic behind what Illinois allows and bans – sparklers are allowed yet burn so hot they can cause third-degree burns in seconds and sent 1,100 people to emergency rooms in 2021.

Fireworks consumption nationwide hit an all-time high in 2022 with more than 461 million pounds, up by more than 57 million pounds since 2020. But injuries fell by more than 5,000 during that time and have remained steady as use has grown over 20 years.

The American Pyrotechnics Association reported revenue from consumer and display fireworks combined hit records in 2022 and 2023, topping $2.7 billion each year. As the firework industry continues to “boom,” it’s never too late for lawmakers to grant residents fireworks freedom, and benefit from added revenue, too.

It is time Illinoisans celebrated Independence Day the way the Founding Fathers envisioned: by igniting a little freedom.

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