Opinion: Why fireworks should be legalized in Minnesota

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Lauren Wensel

The legalization of fireworks in MN would boost the economy.

Most consumer fireworks are illegal in Minnesota. Ground based fireworks including sparklers, tubes that emit sparks, fountains, and ground spinners and wheels are all legal. However any fireworks that are aerial and explosive are illegal to buy or use throughout the state.

If local law enforcement catches someone setting off illegal fireworks, the citizen could have to pay up to $3,000 in fines. Laws are identical for nonresidents as well. The Minnesota Department of Safety enforces these rules, however, it can be hard for them to do so especially around July 4th. 

Citizens can receive their Fireworks Operator (Public Display) Certification if the state approves. Applicants must provide proof of experience in other states. There is a fee required in order to obtain the certification. The certifications allow for the firework shows that take place in Minnesota during the summer to happen.

I believe that big fireworks should be legalized in Minnesota. There would be several benefits for the economy, and citizens within the state would enjoy fireworks. I argue that since the laws against big fireworks are not being heavily enforced, and citizens simply travel out of state to buy fireworks, the government should remove the laws.

Many MN citizens travel just over the state border to buy big fireworks. (Photo via Tom Huesing under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.)

Senator Jason Rarick traveled to a firework shop in Wisconsin, right by the Minnesota border. The staff revealed that about 75 to 80% of their customers are from Minnesota. As Rarick states, “[Fireworks] are here and they’re being used… It’s not being enforced, so why not legalize it and let people enjoy it?”

Legalizing big fireworks would bring in a lot of revenue for the state. By banning big fireworks, the state is losing out on sales and tax money. Senator Rarick estimates that more than $6 million in tax money will be raised every year in Minnesota from fireworks if they are legalized.

The tax money would allow more money to go to schools, so the public education system would be improved. There could be smaller class sizes and more teachers. It would also fund healthcare and construction to fix roads.

Another reason it would make sense for Minnesota to legalize fireworks is that firework companies could make public safety announcements and education happen. Big fireworks are far more dangerous for citizens in Minnesota when they do not get the proper education on how to be safe with them. Accidents related to fireworks will be less likely to happen.

Legalizing fireworks in the state would also create job opportunities. Temporary and permanent structures selling fireworks would both open up across the state. 

Former Governor Mark Dayton was firmly opposed to the idea of legalizing fireworks. On the other hand, the current Governor, Tim Walz, is open to the idea. With the COVID-19 pandemic still being resolved, firework legalization is not likely on the top of Walz’s list, but there is hope for it in the next couple of years. 

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