Illinios Senator Moves to Legalilze Fireworks in the State

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By Evie Allen

HERRIN -- You can't actually buy most fireworks here in Illinois. One lawmaker is working on a plan to change that.

The Fourth of July is not complete until night falls and beautiful fireworks fill the sky. Because it is illegal to sell fireworks in Illinois, many go to neighboring states to buy their share.

"We go to Missouri to go get them and we bring them back here," said Brian Reubke. "We've never had an issue with them."

Illinois Senator Chapin Rose believes buying out-of-state is bad for business. Rose thinks the state is missing out on millions in sales tax revenue. He's now working on legislation to legalize them.

The idea has plenty of local supporters.

"I would like to see the fireworks be brought legal again," said Jack Fell. "They were legal when I was a kid, had firecrackers and everything."

"Yes! Finally we won't have to go to the border anymore to get fireworks," said Michelle Lambright. "That would be great."

However, safety is always going to be the big issue. When the pyrotechnics fall into the wrong hands, they can cause serious problems.

Captain Wes Yates with the Herrin Fire Department says he sees both sides of the issue. If there aren't any strict rules, fiire departments could see more fires and hospitals could see more injuries.

"That's a possibility," said Yates. "Depending on how they regulate it, what kinds they make legal, what kinds they still keep illegal."

State law currently allows the sale of certain novelty items, like sparklers and smoke devices. Some feel that when you tell people they can't have the larger variety, it only makes them want them more.

"Everyone still buys them," said Chuck Querrey. "Everyone is still going to shoot them. They're going to go, whether they're legal or not. So what they should work to is teach people to do them safe."

A bill legalizing firework sales will be introduced next spring. Any revenue made would be shared with fire departments, conservation district and other offices.

 
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