New proposal aims to ease fireworks ban

Sparklers and fountains were a long-time tradition at New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July celebrations.

They were outlawed some time ago, but two Honolulu City Councilmembers believe they should be included in an expanded fireworks law.

“I’m looking at this as a fair compromise to be allowed to use sparklers, to be allowed to use fountains, albeit with a permit,” Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson said.

Residents could buy a certain number of sparklers and fountains, just as they do with firecrackers. The other issue addressed by the proposal: refunds for those permits that are not used.

“Those folks who do not utilize their permits will be able to seek a refund from the city,” Councilmember Anderson said.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department said the department is an advocate for public safety and will need to see the legislation before making any comment.

On that count, Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi said she was unaware of any fires or injuries caused by sparklers or fountains.

“No, and I don’t know of any caused. As children, we all played with those when I was little. They don’t explode. The fountains don’t explode either,” Councilmember Kobayashi said.

Councilmember Kobayashi also said the refund aspect for the fireworks permits is important to the public. The inventory disappeared from a number of stores before this past New Year’s Eve.

“Then they go to the store and different stores and the supply is gone. So, it’s very unfair that they spent this money and then they’re not allowed to purchase the firecrackers,” Councilmember Kobayashi said.

The new law would take effect on the day it is passed.

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