The Dec. 30 editorial in The Tampa Tribune (“Douse Florida fireworks bill,” Our Views) was right on target. I waited until after New Year’s to write as I wanted to see how bad the fireworks would be in this bad economy. Unfortunately, they were very bad, and even after six days we continue to hear fireworks in the neighborhood each evening.
Fireworks have nothing to do with patriotism. Each time I hear one explode I think someone doesn’t like their neighbor. We even heard fireworks exploding on Christmas Eve, a time which should be held in reverence. I shouldn’t be surprised, however, as we also heard them exploding on Halloween when there were small children walking in the neighborhood street.
We need to be clear: We don’t oppose professional fireworks displays. They are beautiful and safe for citizens; however, fireworks are illegal under Florida state law when they are used in neighborhoods. Remember, signing a form when you purchase the fireworks does not make them legal when used in neighborhoods. They disturb your neighbors and frighten pets to the extent they often run away from home.
The bill filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz in the Florida House and the bill filed by our own Sen. Jeff Brandes certainly does not represent the wants and desires of Florida citizens (it’s estimated only 5 percent of our citizens shoot fireworks). These bills will help no one except the fireworks industry.
The editorial is also correct that the use of fireworks provides “cover” for the use of celebratory gunfire into the air, which is also illegal. This occurs each holiday, including the most recent, and has seriously injured some of our citizens.
If Gaetz and Brandes want to know how Florida citizens feel about the use of fireworks in neighborhoods, they should put it on the ballot and let the citizens decide. This will not happen as the fireworks industry knows it would lose big time.