City Council members to consider proposed fireworks ban for Oahu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City Council members to consider proposed fireworks ban for Oahu

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Terry Seelig Terry Seelig
Aerial firework Aerial firework

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new survey has found a majority of Hawaii residents is against a ban on fireworks. A fireworks distributor commissioned the survey in preparation for its appearance before Honolulu City Council members regarding a proposed ban for Oahu.

Lobbyists, some flying in from the mainland, will testify before the council's public safety committee Thursday.

Despite repeated attempts, police and fire officials have been unsuccessful in getting an all-out prohibition on consumer fireworks passed. But they continue the fight, calling it a health and safety issue.

"Consumer fireworks have inherent dangers to them," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said. "They explode. They liberate heat. They set off sparks. If not used properly and safely, they can cause injury, even fatality."

A Honolulu City Council committee this Thursday will consider a total ban on fireworks, with the exception of commercial displays.

Right now, state law prohibits non-professionals from setting off aerials and homemade explosive devices. But a new state law allows each county to impose even stricter regulations.

"They are large differences between our county and the other counties," Seelig said. "The impact in a more populated, densely-developed area have more significance."

Ward Research recently conducted a survey on the issue. Thirty-eight percent of the 402 Hawaii residents questioned were strongly against a fireworks ban. Twenty-four percent were somewhat opposed to it. That means 62% were opposed to it to some degree.

Lobbyists for TNT Fireworks commissioned that survey.

"The majority of people of the city and county of Honolulu and the state of Hawaii buy and use fireworks safely and responsibly," Jerry Farley, TNT lobbyist, said. "Their rights should not be abridged because of the misuse by a few or the illegal use by a few."

At Thursday's committee hearing, the Honolulu Fire Department will recommend that a working group of stake holders be formed to fully examine the issue and draft an effective measure.

Those against an all-out ban say it won't solve the problem of illegal fireworks.

"The only way to deal with this is through effective enforcement of the existing state law," Farley said.

While each county now has the power to come up with its own regulations, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island have no hearings on fireworks scheduled as of yet.

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