Any new fireworks laws must have teeth

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After much discussion and deliberation during the past year on the issue of tweaking local fireworks regulations, the Camas City Council has finally whittled down an option that reduces the period of time fireworks can be legally discharged within city limits.

The changes that are part of a “preferred option” would make the legal use and sale period run from July 1 to July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight. In addition, fireworks could be discharged on Dec. 31, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and sold Dec. 27 through Dec. 31, from noon to 11 p.m.

The proposal trims the usage period by a total of four days. Currently, for the Fourth of July holiday, sales and use are allowed from June 28 to July 5.

On Monday, March 7, the City Council will be taking public comment during a hearing on these proposed changes.

On its face, reducing instead of completely eliminating the legal use and sale of personal fireworks seems like a compromise worth trying. If the Camas City Council does end up approving the proposed new fireworks regulations, the true challenge though will be follow-though on enforcement. Without that element, a new law would be pointless. With some surrounding jurisdictions selling fireworks for a more lengthy span of time, purchasing them certainly won’t be a problem for those determined to violate the rules.

Representatives from the Camas Police Department seem confident that enforcing more restrictive laws is realistic, but only time will tell if that is true.