It’s time for a ban on fireworks

The state fire marshal has come out in favor of incrementally banning fireworks in New Hampshire.

He’s right. They are of no value and they are, as Fire Marshal William Degnan said, dangerous. So, why are they legal?

Well, why are a lot of things legal, one might ask. Cars can be dangerous, but they’re legal.

Right, in the hands of an untrained driver, they certainly are dangerous. But we license drivers so at least we make the attempt to give them some competence. We don’t license those who blast off in their back yards.

There can be no argument about fireworks. They have no value whatsoever unless one counts the “joy” of blowing something up and making a loud noise. Well, kaboom.

The biggest problem, said Degnan, is something called “reloadable mortar” style fireworks. Those he’d like to ban right now; a ban on all fireworks would come later.

“These devices require an untrained person to make a decision about how to shoot these off,” he said, “where they have to load it, stabilize it and then make sure they’re far enough away from it.”

Here is how the website Phantom Fireworks describes these mortars:

“Shoot like the professionals! These self-contained kits include launching tubes and a variety of high trajectory bursting aerial shells that you load individually. Effects are designed in the same style as the larger professional versions.”

Yes, but for the most part, isn’t it better if those who “shoot like professionals” actually are professionals? Would you hire an untrained lifeguard to guard your kids as they swim in water over their heads?

Now one could argue that despite the fact that two adults were injured in a fireworks accident on July 4, such accidents are few and far between. So what? It isn’t as if shooting off fireworks, particularly “mortars,” is of any value to society. You say it’s fun? Why? It’s just noise and some light for a few seconds.

Degnan is absolutely right that these mortars should be banned and we believe he’s right about fireworks in general.