Six Reasons Why Massachusetts Should Legalize Fireworks

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Fireworks have been illegal in Massachusetts since 1943. 

Along with bonfires, they were outlawed during World War II to keep the night sky dark, making the prospect of German airplanes bombing American cities during the war more difficult. That never happened, but the ban has stayed in place ever since.

Fireworks are common across the country, especially this time of year, but remain illegal in Massachusetts. 

Should that change? 

Yes, it should.

Here are six reasons why Massachusetts should legalize, tax, and regulate fireworks.


1.  Massachusetts Is An Outlier

Massachusetts is the only state in the country where at least some kinds of fireworks are not legal.

If you live in New Hampshire, Maine, or Rhode Island and want to buy fireworks for your next cookout, a trip to the store is as easy as picking up some milk on your way home from work. However, if you live in Massachusetts, then this task is much more difficult.

Massachusetts politicians like to crow about how avant-garde the Bay State is — but that’s not true when it comes to fireworks. With all those other states legalizing fireworks across the Northeast, Massachusetts is missing out.

It’s fine to be an outlier when you’re right and everyone else is wrong. In this case, Massachusetts is wrong and everyone else is right.


2.  People Buy Fireworks Out-of-State

People from Massachusetts are buying fireworks out of state and spending money elsewhere. That means that the residents of other states are benefiting from the business generated by people who would prefer to buy fireworks here but can’t.

Why should we be helping business owners in, say, Rhode Island or New Hampshire when we can help business owners here?


3.  Legalizing Fireworks Would Create Jobs

Legalizing fireworks would create jobs. Jobs in the fireworks industry, for sure — but also jobs in retail and distribution more generally.

Suppose you want to buy some fireworks for your child’s birthday party or Fourth of July celebration. If you didn’t have to drive to, say, New Hampshire or Maine, why would you? If Massachusetts legalizes fireworks we could support local businesses and create jobs for people who are already living here.

As time goes on, there is potential for these numbers to increase even more — especially if Massachusetts were able to attract consumers from nearby states like New York where a store in our state may be closer to their house than one in their own state.


4.  Legalizing Fireworks Would Increase Tax Revenue

Legalizing a new industry would mean new revenue for the state.

As of now, Massachusetts residents are missing out on tax revenue which could be used for projects like better roads or schools, because they’re not spending money where they live.


5.  Legalizing Fireworks Could Make Them Safer

The state government could make money by licensing manufacturers and wholesalers as well as retailers selling fireworks. This way state officials can ensure that all legal manufacturers and wholesalers are properly trained and equipped to safely handle explosive materials, which will improve product quality and decrease accidents involving their products.

The money generated from these activities could be used to promote safe use of fireworks in Massachusetts through education campaigns about how to avoid injury when lighting off your own celebration display at home.

The state could set some reasonable parameters of which fireworks people can use and when they can use them. Towns could set rules to limit noise at night to protect children, pets, and people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As of now, cops simply turn a blind eye to most fireworks complaints because the number is overwhelming this time of year. But if the state’s fireworks law were more targeted to certain cases of nuisance and danger, cops would be better equipped to enforce the law in those specific instances, instead of throwing up their hands and ignoring a largely unenforceable law.


6.  Freedom

Ordered liberty is the hallmark of America.

Fireworks were used to celebrate the Fourth of July early in our Republic — as John Adams said they should be.

As free Americans, we ought to be able to use fireworks as individuals without the nanny-commonwealth hassling us.


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