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Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Livonia Mayor Jack Kirksey about the movement to re-regulate Michigan’s firework industry. In 2011 a law was passed that allows any individual to purchase and use commercial grade fireworks and although they’re great to look at the noise has been getting out of control all across Michigan. Especially in the city, each night might as well be an extension of the holiday’s festivities and many residents are having their sleep and safety disturbed by the sound of explosions at night. A Move-On people’s petition seeks to place a ban on fireworks to get the noise under control and hundreds of people have been signing.

  • What can local governments actually do? Kirksey says the main policy problem is that local control is completely overruled by the state’s decision to legalize the fireworks. He notes that local ordinances do allow authorities to modify the placement and usage of fireworks in their cities but there is no way for local governments to challenge the state law and develop punishments.
  • A right of expression and celebration: One listener believes this isn’t an issue and says that fireworks are a great display of personal patriotism. He says there would be danger no matter what type of fireworks are being used and says he wouldn’t oppose limits on the size and power, but they shouldn’t be stopped.
  • It’s not just the noise: Other listeners complain that the noise and safety aren’t the only problems. Some callers say their dogs are extremely affected by the noise both physically and psychologically. Others brought out the fact that the fireworks leave behind inordinate amounts of debris and garbage in their neighborhoods and cleanup falls onto the victims.
  • Consideration for Others: Kirksey and another caller also question how the noise and explosions affect veterans in the blast radius. The explosions and constant noise can set off symptoms of PTSD. One listener also felt that trying to deal with the problem on her own caused her to become a target and actually moved out of her neighborhood in Plymouth. Another caller also feels that the increase in sales and markets means there is an additional burden on the fire marshals and other government officials that need to inspect and permit the tents selling fireworks.

Hear the full story by clicking the audio link above.

Image credit: Anthony Camp Flikr

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