Letter to the Editor: Ban 'safe and sane' fireworks statewide

Every year, in the first two weeks of July, complaints are expressed about the problems resulting from fireworks being set off in neighborhoods. These are very real and justifiable complaints. The consideration of banning the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks was brought up in 2015 by Councilmember Brossmer, but to my knowledge, the City Council has not taken action.
 
A bit of recent history: sometime around 2001, Downey’s citizens voted on a measure to ban the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks in the city. It did not pass. At that time, former Mayor Bob Winningham was a leading advocate of the measure.  

I was on the City Council with Mr. Winningham, and while we agreed on many issues, I had opposed the measure; based on the fact that the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks generated significant revenues for about 14 non-profit groups in the city. Also, banning “safe and sane” doesn’t solve the problem – the much larger problem has always been the use of illegal fireworks.
 
I don’t know that there is a perfect solution, but this is probably the closest to it:
 
Have our state legislatures quit spending their time increasing our gasoline and vehicle taxes, and write legislation that will ban the sale of all fireworks, including “safe and sane” (other than those permitted and licensed for fireworks shows) – the ban being applied statewide. This would eliminate the purchase of “safe and sane” in a neighboring city where they might be legal. This should also simplify the work of our police and fire because the law is one that covers all of California, and not just a patchwork of cities.
 
This is a safe and sane approach for all of our communities.
 
Keith McCarthy
Former Downey Mayor