For the first time in 25 years in 2012, Huntington Beach homeowners had the ability to sell and discharge legal fireworks over the 4th of July holiday. However, many citations were issued and an alarming amount of illegal fireworks were confiscated. It brings up the question this year about how Huntington Beach homeowners will behave over the holiday weekend, and also whether or not the City of Huntington Beach will choose to extend the two-year ordinance.
The city ordinance was popular because it gave local non-profit organizations the chance to legally sell fireworks leading up to the 4th of July holiday. It’s a great way to make money for local sports teams, youth groups, churches and other organizations, but local residents and visitors will have to learn to control themselves if City Council members are to extend the ordinance in the coming years.
Says Mayor Connie Boardman, “People who are bystanders can be injured. Children can be injured. Fires are started. For public safety reasons and because of the advice from our fire chief and police chief, I oppose the use of fireworks.”
But for other city officials like Councilman Joe Shaw, he believes that the ban on illegal fireworks only leads to an increase in their use. Mayor Pro Tem, Matthew Harper, is also in favor of the ordinance, saying he believes Huntington Beach homeowners will step-up and act in good fashion.
Harper said, “We should legalize it. It’s time to make them lawful permanently again in Huntington Beach, just like they used to be.”
According to the City of Huntington Beach’s website, the fine for first-time offenders is $500. And while there wasn’t a great increase in the number of citations given out in 2012, Harper says the amount of illegal fireworks they collected was staggering. In 2012, authorities collected 165 pounds of illegal fireworks, versus only 25 pounds in 2011.
Ten booths around Huntington beach will be selling “safe and sane” fireworks starting July 1. Discharging of the items, however, is permitted only from noon to 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
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