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Chautauqua County Should Opt Out Of Firework Sales

Bombs bursting in air is supposed to be reserved for special occasions, like the Fourth of July or Labor Day.

It certainly is an annoyance, then, to have fireworks booming in short bursts in Dunkirk and Jamestown in recent weeks. Many have complained to police that the fireworks are bothering young children, those with animals, veterans or others with PTSD, just to name a few. At first the complaints were limited to Facebook and other social media sites. Then the complaints made their way to elected officials and police departments.

There are probably a lot of reasons why fireworks complaints have skyrocketed this year. People are largely stuck home with little to do. Stimulus checks and lack of other things to do mean there is more disposable income burning a hole in peoples’ pockets. And, to make matters worse, New York lawmakers’ decision to allow the sale of fireworks in stores has increased the supply of fireworks in our neighborhoods.

We can’t do much about COVID-19 cancellations. We can do something about availability.

In 2014 Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing the sale and use of sparkling devices in New York, after vetoing several previous versions of the bill. The bill excluded sparkling devices and small pyrotechnic novelties from the term “fireworks,” with the exception of cities with a population of a million or more. A change in 2017 required counties to opt in to allowing sales, which Chautauqua County chose to do.

Chautauqua County should opt out of allowing any fireworks sales within the county. It’s obvious, this year in particular, that people can’t stick to small sparklers and other little ground-based devices. Perhaps making it more difficult to obtain fireworks will bring some peace and quiet to our neighborhoods.

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