Stricter laws needed for fireworks in residential communities

January 05, 2012

This fireworks displays on New Year's Eve were a reminder of what has become a year-round problem in some communities. It has become acceptable to detonate explosives and launch aerial incendiaries in residential communities throughout the year.

In my northern Baltimore County community, for example, it is common to hear loud explosions on summer weekends or whenever someone decides to make a big noise. The statute governing the private use of fireworks in Baltimore County is so permissive, and the penalties so light, that it may as well not be on the books.

Explosive and incendiary fireworks in residential communities should be banned throughout Maryland, and there should be significant penalties for violators. In effect, the perpetrators impose their violent entertainment on everyone living nearby, including infants and young children, those with medical conditions that may be affected by the startle response and those who simply want to spend a quiet evening at home with family and friends.

Detonating loud fireworks in a community is no more appropriate than standing in one's backyard and firing a shotgun into the air, or staging drag races through the streets. For those who enjoy fireworks, there are plenty of displays that are held in public venues, away from residential communities.

Fred Medinger

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