Return to county rule
is proposed for fireworks

A City Council resolution introduced yesterday could be the first step to tougher fireworks laws.

"It makes a lot of sense because every county is not the same," said Councilman Charles Djou, who introduced the measure with five other members. "The situations that Oahu faces are different from the neighbor islands."

City & County of Honolulu The resolution was introduced soon after Fire Chief Attilio Leonardi called for a ban on fireworks on the Fourth of July. Leonardi and others have cited a record number of fireworks-related brush fires that have threatened public safety and drained Fire Department resources as one reason for a ban.

In 1995 the state Legislature took from the counties the power to enact laws governing fireworks.

Djou said he thinks the time is right for the counties to get that authority back, especially in light of the fire chief's concerns.

The resolution, which has no force or effect of law, urges the state Legislature to change the state fireworks law to allow the counties to enact more stringent fireworks laws if they choose.

Djou said the issue is about home rule, with counties deciding what is best for them in terms of fireworks legislation. While some of the neighbor islands might not have problems with fireworks, Oahu might need more restrictions because of its population and density.

"I don't think this one-size-fits-all law works," Djou said.

He also said that past concerns about fireworks contraband moving from a county that allows fireworks to one that does not is moot because of stepped-up inspection at airports.

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