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When it Comes to Illegal Fireworks, I’m a Dud

Should Minnesota allow more legit fireworks?

When it Comes to Illegal Fireworks, I’m a Dud

“You’re gonna shoot your eye out!”

So says Ralphie’s mom in the beloved movie, A Christmas Story. It’s also a line used by adversaries to this year’s fireworks bill, including Gov. Mark Dayton, who ultimately vetoed the bill back in April.

The bill Dayton vetoed would have legalized some aerial fireworks and other novelty, loud, go-boom type devices that many Woodbury folks just jaunt over the river into Wisconsin to purchase anyway.

It’s my understanding that any fireworks that leave the ground are illegal for non-professional pyrotechnicians to purchase or use in Minnesota. That would make those river-crossing fireworks aficionados lawbreakers—if they’re setting them off on this side of the St. Croix.

No big deal, right? I mean, Minnesota didn’t even allow kids to celebrate Independence Day with sparklers up until 10 years ago. People say the government is being too conservative with fireworks legislation, only to look the other way on enforcement. Is this true?

I did receive three glossy advertisements inside my St. Paul newspaper wooing me to Wisconsin for just such a purchase.

Many respectable and responsible folks that I know spend big dollars entertaining friends with fireworks I can see from blocks away, making those fireworks the no-no kind, and those folks in violation of the Minnesota statute against possession, use or explosion of fireworks.

It may be a silly law, but what are we teaching the kiddos? To only follow the laws we like?

I’ll admit I’m conflicted on the issue of putting humans in close proximity with explosions. I don’t understand the fascination with fire. But I’ve seen both my husband and my sons shriek with glee over just such things.

I view the hubs as one of the responsible ones, making sure there is a bucket of water nearby for extinguishing spent sparklers and discouraging the sons from pretending that lit sparklers are light sabers. Still, I can’t watch.

I surely have some post-traumatic stress disorder associated with a bottle rocket whistling past my ear and blowing my hair back when I was a teenager in Michigan. Friends would throw cherry bombs off our back porch, burning fingers and temporarily losing hearing in the ear nearest their throwing arm.

None of it seemed like fun to me. I was just waiting for some idiot to put my eye out.

I’m perfectly happy to stroll down to Ojibway Park and enjoy the spectacular, professional fireworks display that the city of Woodbury so wonderfully provides. It’s certainly more impressive than whatever comes in those Wisconsin mystery boxes. And it’s a lot less likely to injure me or my children.

So, what can I say? I’m a dud when it comes to illegal fireworks.


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