The push to repeal Illinois’ fireworks ban is gaining steam.
More than 7,000 people have signed Illinois Policy’s petition to repeal the 76-year-old ban. And a bill recently filed in the General Assembly that would do just that has attracted three additional sponsors: state Reps. Dave Severin, R-Benton; C. D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; and Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford.
Illinois is one of only four states in the nation that prohibits the purchase and use of nearly all consumer fireworks. State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake, filed House Bill 5928 on July 3, the most recent attempt by a state lawmaker to repeal the ban. Wheeler’s proposal would replace the state’s overreaching ban with a regulatory framework under which retailers could lawfully sell consumer fireworks.
Illinoisans deserve the same rights as those in each of their neighboring states to responsibly use celebratory fireworks without the threat of punitive fines or jail time. And moreover, they appear to recognize the absurdity of the state’s ban, exhibited by the annual surge in cross-border fireworks purchases made each year ahead of Independence Day.
“If people are willing to travel to buy fireworks then surely they would be willing to spend their money closer to home if Illinois were to legalize fireworks,” Severin told the Benton Gazette.
Deanna Delimat, director of operations at Black Bull Fireworks in Delavan, Wisconsin, has estimated Illinoisans make up nearly 70 percent of her customer base. Relaxed consumer fireworks laws enjoyed by Illinois’ neighbors, such as Wisconsin, allow those states to collect millions in annual tax revenue and bolster a number of employment opportunities. Meanwhile, by keeping an entire industry effectively outlawed, Illinois has continued to lose out on such benefits.
Illinoisans can sign Illinois Policy’s petition here to ask their elected representatives to repeal the state’s ill-considered ban on fireworks.