So, when I saw the headline in today's paper that our police chief wants to ban fireworks because they may be the cause of a terrible apartment fire, I immediate saw today's blog post writing itself.
But then I read the entire article and got to this:
"Toledo Police Chief Michael Navarre yesterday called for the ban on the sale of fireworks. "They have to ban the sale of fireworks, because, in my opinion, it makes absolutely no sense to sell them to people and tell them it's illegal to shoot them off," Chief Navarre said."
This has always puzzled me. We sell fireworks in a state where it is illegal to use them. So if it's illegal to use the product, why is it allowed to be sold? The only items that are legal in Ohio are sparklers, trick noisemakers, and certain novelties. When you purchase anything else, you have to sign a form that says you're promising to take them out of the state.
But the laws are never - or very rarely - enforced. According to Chief Navarre,
"The problem is, it's such a widespread problem, and it's been tolerated for many, many years, and it will be difficult with the resources that we have to crack down," he said.
Meantime, he said his department would look into tougher enforcement against fireworks.
And that's the problem. It really isn't the sale of the items, it's the fact that they are sold and even when people promise to take the items out of state, they don't and they've gotten away with it for ages.
I must admit that I enjoyed the display my neighbors set off over the Maumee Bay, especially with the wind blowing it away from the shoreline. But they were clearly the 'illegal' items and the fact that they were illegal didn't seem to phase anyone, including the police.
So, since the use of fireworks is banned in Ohio, should we go the next step and prohibit the sale of them as well? Imagine all the sales taxes that wouldn't be collected if we did...
If the usage is illegal, should we spend our limited police resources to actually enforce the law?
Or, should we let the sale and usage be legal and just penalize those who are not responsible with the items?