Monroe County legislator proposes a ban on local fireworks sales

Monroe County

A burning sparkler is held as the Sinhala and Tamil communities celebrate New Year in Colombo on April 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart (D-21) submitted legislation Monday to ban the sale of fireworks and sparkling devices.

“Not only do fireworks create a safety hazard, they diminish the quality of life for everyone, especially veterans, children and household pets,” Barnhart in a press release. “Opting out of sales is a tool in the county’s toolbox to confront this problem — and we should use it.”

MORE | Hearing more fireworks this year in Rochester? You’re not alone

Sparkling devices and small fireworks have been legal in Monroe County for a few years now. New York state legalized the sale of those kinds of fireworks in 2017, but left it up to local counties to decide if they would opt in or out of those sales; Monroe County has since opted in.

The use of fireworks was on the rise last summer, so much so that the Rochester Fire and Police Chiefs held a joint press conference to denounce the widespread use of them, point out potential dangers, and even expressed “they [the fireworks] are annoying.”

MORE | RPD, RFD Chiefs on uptick of fireworks: Annoying, dangerous, and potentially criminal

“Both legal and illegal fireworks have significantly diminished the quality of life for residents of Monroe County,” Barnhart said in a press release. “There have been numerous structure fires, as well as the abuse of a household cat using a firework device. There have been reports of injuries to people, including police officers. 

Barnhart says the bill clears up confusion on what’s allowed on store shelves versus pop-up tents, and reduces access to sparkling devices.

“This bill won’t solve the fireworks problem, but it’s an important step,” Barnhart said. “I will also work with partners in government on a broader education and enforcement effort.”

This proposed legislation only deals with sales, as municipalities already have laws that regulate the use of fireworks.

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