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Why are Fireworks Illegal in Illinois?

Though Illinois bans the use of commercial-grade fireworks, chances are you know somebody who plans to drive to Wisconsin or Indiana to prepare a grand Fourth of July fireworks show.

Illinois is one of only three states that do not allow some or all types of consumer fireworks, but that doesn’t stop thousands from driving across state lines to bring them back.

So, why are fireworks illegal in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, most fireworks were outlawed in Illinois in 1942, when state Rep. William G. Thon, [R-Chicago], drafted the Pyrotechnic Use Act.

Since then, there have been numerous failed attempts to legalize the use of commercial fireworks.

The latest attempt to loosen fireworks restrictions, proposed this year, faced numerous critics.

Phil Zaleski, executive director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, said the state of New York voted to loosen restrictions, but regretted the decision and sent a letter to the Illinois General Assembly warning of the consequences, according to The Center Square.

“We should be aware of that because they too back in 2016 had made this mistake that resulted in injuries, PTSD in veterans, pets that run away from the home,” Zaleski said.  

Some politicians see legalizing commercial fireworks as a way to earn money that Illinois residents are already spending elsewhere.

“I think it’s just ridiculous that every state around us is making money off of Illinois citizens and here we are once again giving up money that could better be earned and spent here in Illinois,” state Sen. Chapin Rose, [R-Mahomet] told The Center Square.

Rose estimates the state loses at least $10 million in potential revenue by banning the sale of fireworks.

Don’t expect fireworks to be legalized anytime soon, though, as fire safety groups across the state are opposing any sort of legislation to legalize fireworks.

“I enjoy a fireworks show, I like them,” said Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr. “I think they are entertaining, but unfortunately they are dangerous and there needs to be a higher level of experience before someone is setting them off.”

Source: WGN TV