Very limited firecracker supply this Fourth of July

It’s been three and a half years since Oahu’s fireworks ban went into effect.

Since then, fewer and fewer retailers have been bringing in firecrackers for sale.  That’s the case for this upcoming Fourth of July.

Bo Wah Trading Company on Maunakea Street in Chinatown is the only store on Oahu that’s going to be selling firecrackers.  And the store has a very limited supply.

“I think I can cater around 30 permits for the Fourth of July this year,” Bo Wah Trading Company Owner Danny Au said.

Ever since the city’s fireworks ban went into effect on January 2, 2011, the interest has dropped quite significantly with 174 permits issued in 2010 for the Fourth of July, to only 43 issued last year.

“That’s why even the big stores they stop carrying firecrackers for Fourth of July,” Au said.

The Honolulu Fire Department says the new Longs Drugs in Makiki is the only other store on Oahu with a current retail license to sell firecrackers, but the manager there says they’re not planning to sell firecrackers for the Fourth of July.

“But for us, because we stock for all occasions. That’s why we still carry it around,” Au said.

Permits will be available at Satellite City Hall offices until June 24.  It costs $25 for 5,000 pieces of firecrackers.

And remember, only the red firecrackers are legal.  All other novelty fireworks like sparklers are illegal on Oahu.

There was a bill before the Honolulu City Council earlier this year that proposed bringing back some sparklers and fountains, plus issuing refunds for permits not used, but that bill was deferred in committee.

“It’s kind of junk.  Even though we’re older now so we got to grow up with fireworks, and all these younger kids don’t get the option to do that.  But in a way it’s good for medical conditions, and I have asthma so it’s hard on me,” said Nicole Whang of Makiki.

The firecrackers will go on sale starting June 29, and will be on sale until Bo Wah Trading Company runs out.

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