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Monday, July 17, 2017

FIREWORKS REVISITED

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Same old problems over July 4th holiday The recent July 4th holiday provided more proof of why fireworks should be banned within the city limits of Shreveport. It also demonstrated that some people cannot be trusted to obey the law when it comes to the times that fireworks can be discharged. The law states that fireworks can be used in Shreveport between June 25 and July 5 with a deadline of 10 p.m. for setting them off. But at 2 a.m., one could hear fireworks still being discharged. I had to yell at my neighbor behind me who was still popping after 10:30 p.m.

It is dangerous when they are being discharged in residential neighborhoods and are a fire hazard. While the law says fireworks must be discharged on private property, most times they are done so in the streets. They upset the elderly and traumatize pets. But there is an added group which is disturbed – veterans who suffer from PTSD. Another problem is that some revelers shoot firearms into the air, which is unlawful.So, why hasn’t action been taken to ban fireworks within the city limits? Well, city officials will tell you that there is the issue of persons who make a living by selling fireworks, and there is the tax money the city gets from those sales. However, that has not stopped other municipalities and parishes from banning fireworks.
In fact, eight states ban fireworks altogether – Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Vermont. Eighteen states allow residents to purchase and use non-aerial and non-explosive fireworks. In the other 24 states, including Louisiana, the laws vary widely. These states permit the sale of all or most types of consumer fireworks to residents and allow local governmental entities to set their own restrictions.

Closer to home, fireworks are banned in the parishes of East Ba-ton Rouge, which includes the city of Baton Rouge, and Terrebonne Parish, which includes the city of Houma.
In Ouachita Parish, fireworks are not allowed to be discharged within the city limits of any of its munici-palities, such as Monroe and West Monroe.
More municipalities are banning fireworks within the state. Cities such as La-fayette, Lake Charles, Rus-ton, Opelousas, Thibodaux,Denham Springs, Gonzales, Donald-sonville, St. Francisville, Port Allen, Crowley and Abbeville – to name some of them – have now banned fireworks within their city limits. Fireworks displays are limited to city-sponsored public shows.Wouldn’t it be a good, progressive move on the part of the city of Shreveport if the city administration or even the city council had the courage to propose a ban on fireworks? It would surely be a popular move with a great majority of the population, as the number of people who are annoyed by the discharge of fireworks far outnumber those who feel they have to have their own fireworks display.The same holds true for Bossier City. There were apparently problems with the discharge of fireworks after the time deadline there as well. It’s inevitable. Where fireworks are allowed, time lines will be ignored.
holidayLou Gehrig Burnett, an award-winning journalist, has been involved with politics for 44 years and was a congressional aide in Washington, D.C., for 27 years. He also served as executive assistant to former Shreveport Mayor “Bo” Williams. Burnett is the publisher of the weekly “FaxNet Update” and can be reached at 861-0552 or louburnett@comcast.net.
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