Firefighters upset over bill to legalize fireworks in the state - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Firefighters upset over bill to legalize fireworks in the state

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Firefighters are speaking out over legalizing the sale of fireworks (WFSB) Firefighters are speaking out over legalizing the sale of fireworks (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Some firefighters are fuming about a bill that would legalize the sale and use of fireworks in Connecticut.

The main argument is that fireworks already make it into the state, so why not tax them and use the money to support emergency services.

First responders said it's not worth the money.

“One of the issues for the fire marshals this year is Senate Bill 435, which would increase the types of fireworks allowed in Connecticut,” said Walter Summer, CT Fire Marshals Association President.

Firefighters spoke about the bill at Fire Service Day at the state capitol.

“What this bill does is open it up to all consumer fireworks. So, the federal definition of consumer fireworks is aerial, bottle rockets, mortars, firecrackers, etc., so those would be allowed to come in Connecticut and be purchased by anyone over the age of 21,” Summers said.

Connecticut State Police showed Channel 3 some of the fireworks they’ve confiscated in recent years.

“These fireworks that you see before us are consumer-grade fireworks. All of these fireworks are currently illegal to possess or use in the state of Connecticut,” said Detective Paul Makuc from the Connecticut State Police.

Penalties can range from a fine of a few hundred dollars to a felony.

Senator Kevin Witkos is one of the lawmakers sponsoring the bill.

“Well, I think this is what our residents want. We have people traveling out of Connecticut going to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maine, purchasing fireworks and bringing them back here only because we have them illegal in the state of Connecticut so let’s make them legal,” Witkos said.

Right now, all fireworks are illegal in Connecticut except sprinklers and fountains.

“As a fire department we're the ones that respond and know firsthand how dangerous fireworks really are,” said Chief Kevin Cooney, CT Fire Chief’s Association President.

The bill would also help fund the firefighter cancer fund, the regional firefighter training schools and generate an estimated $500,000 in sales tax revenue.

The General Law Committee voted 12-5 last week to move the bill to the Senate.

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