Minot fireworks ordinance is nanny state nonsense
July 4th celebrations have already begun in some families that look forward each year to shooting off fireworks lots of fireworks.
Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that a good number of those otherwise law-abiding citizens, and a lot more not quite so into fireworks, will end up breaking the law to celebrate our county’s independence with a bang.
Recently Minot police issued their standard reminder of the city’s restrictions on possessing and using fireworks in city limits.
The Minot Code of Ordinances prohibits the “possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks” anywhere within city limits. The penalty for violating this section is a $150 fine.
Smoke bombs and sparklers are included in the prohibition. Any firework that is ignited by a burning fuse or that must be lit on fire is prohibited.
A number of points to the ordinance seem a little too restrictive and perhaps should be reconsidered by city council next year.
For example, transportation. Unless you purchase your fireworks on the way out of town and on the correct side of town you are verily tempted if not bound to break the law. You can’t patronize a fireworks stand on the north side of town and head for Lake Sakakawea unless you take a bypass.
Buy your fireworks a day ahead to save time, and safely store them in town? Forget it. We’re not capable.
Then there is the issue of sparklers; they need to be lit. They are illegal to have or use in Minot. Sparklers?
So, you can light up a cigarette just about anywhere, anytime you want in the city. You can, drunk or sober, light your charcoal grill with enough lighter fluid to raze your deck faster than a fireman can pull his boots on. But a kid, under the supervision of an adult, can’t write his or her name in the air with a sparkler without getting out of town?
The ordinance was obviously meant to protect people from others as well from as themselves, and with good intention. It just seems like it was so, so much easier to ban everything than to assess levels of risk and govern accordingly. It can be done. The effort would be worthwhile. People want to obey the law, they really do. But laws that make sense.