[Insert joke about a bill causing fireworks in Tallahassee here.]
Florida bans regular citizens from buying fireworks that shoot of into the air for most purposes, but a bill filed by state Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Ft. Walton Beach) could reverse that. Fire chiefs across the state however aren't celebrating.
Currently Floridian's amateur Fourth of July celebrations are relegated to things like sparklers, snakes, smokes bombs and small, ground-based fireworks. Gaetz's bill would allow citizens without permits to buy and use actual fireworks.
However, according to Bay News 9, fire chiefs are worried about the new law:
Leaders with the Florida Fire Chiefs Association said they think lifting the ban on fireworks is a bad idea. They believe it could put more people in danger and cause more injuries and fires. "Leave it to the professionals. They do a wonderful job managing it, controlling it and it's safer, much safer," said Florida Fire Chiefs Association President Ron Parrish.
Gaetz however is taking the libertarian angle.
"We're pushing economic activity out of our state with a regulation that's relatively meaningless because people get fireworks elsewhere and just bring them down and shoot them off here," Gaetz told The News-Herald. "We'd rather keep those dollars in Florida."
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Gaetz said safety shouldn't be a concern because Floridians who already use fireworks they bought out of state or online haven't caused much damage.
Of course people who make that effort may also make more effort to use them safely. We all know its only a matter of time until some drunk Floridians drives to a fireworks store on impulse, decides to set some off in his backyard and accidentally sets a tree on fire.