Kudos to DeWine for fireworks bill’s veto


Backyard fireworks can come with avoidable consequences.

That’s why we are pleased that Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday vetoed legislation that would have made it legal for consumers to discharge them in this state.

The Fourth of July death of Blue Jackets’ goalie Matiss Kivlenieks was a tragic reminder that fireworks are not toys.

… Long-lobbied-for, the fireworks bill would have made it legal to shoot off fireworks on holidays in eight out of 12 months: New Year’s Day in January; Chinese New Year in February; Cinco de Mayo in May; Memorial Day weekend in May; Juneteenth in June; July 3, 4, and 5 and the weekends preceding and following those dates; Labor Day weekend in September; Diwali (a festival of lights celebrated in Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism) in November; and New Year’s Eve in December.

We will give the bill’s proponents one thing: Ohio’s current fireworks law is pretty flimsy and makes a liar and potential criminal out of nearly everyone who buys them here. … Lawmakers could look at ways to relax some restrictions by using safety guidelines, but simply requiring sellers to give safety pamphlets to buyers, as the rejected bill required, would have been insufficient and would have led to more injuries in Ohio.

Public safety, and not appeasing the fireworks makers and sellers, should be the priority. Kudos to DeWine for seeing that more-specific language is needed to ensure Ohioans are kept safe.

The vetoed bill, if passed, would have given local governments authority to restrict the dates and times that residents can discharge fireworks, or ban their discharge altogether. A dangerous seed would have been planted regardless of actions taken by municipalities. … The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 19,500 fires were started by fireworks in 2018, resulting in $105 million in property damage. … No matter how much fun they are, fireworks are not child’s play and should be left to the professionals.

— Columbus Dispatch, July 9