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COMMUNITY VOICES: Illegal use of fireworks

Most people enjoy the Fourth of July celebration and the display of a fireworks show in our community. The purpose of this celebration is to commemorate the Declaration of Independence from British Rule of the 13 sovereign states on July 4, 1776. This document was signed by representatives of the 13 colonies, which led to the formation of the United States of America.

In various parts of California, fireworks used by the general public are banned and can only be displayed by authorized users in a fireworks show. California fireworks laws divide fireworks into two categories: “dangerous fireworks” and “safe and sane” fireworks. Dangerous fireworks are always illegal except for use by a licensed operator. Safe and sane fireworks can be sold by licensed retailers from June 28 to July 4 of each year and can be used by the public, subject to certain limitations. “Dangerous” fireworks include large items such as rockets or loud cherry bombs.

Those who use the “dangerous fireworks” need to take into consideration that if they are caught, this constitutes a misdemeanor and can result in a year in the county jail and/or a $1,000 fine for each occurrence. Dangerous fireworks with a higher quantity can be considered a felony in California. If found guilty of owning a larger quantity, punishment can be three years in a state prison and/or a $50,000 fine. (See the California Health and Safety Code 12700 HS. Section 12505 defines weight.)

Users of illegal or dangerous fireworks should take into consideration that neighbors can be annoyed with hearing these fireworks, especially the elderly, those suffering with PTSD, employees who go to bed early and pets. It should also be taken into consideration that fires to homes or property can be caused by these dangerous fireworks if they land on said properties.

Because of the reasons in this article, the use of dangerous fireworks should cease in our communities. Most people find them a nuisance. If you are guilty of displaying dangerous fireworks in your neighborhood, you probably have over a dozen people living near you who are annoyed by the noise of these fireworks or concerned if they could land on their property.

Have consideration for your neighbors. If you have extra money to spend on fireworks, support a local and legal fireworks booth or donate to the community organization licensed to host a safe and legal fireworks show. In Delano, the Kiwanis Club would be a great place to donate (just a suggestion).

You can follow me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pastordavid.vivas.

David Vivas Jr. is the pastor at World Harvest International Church in Delano.