Our Opinion: Let’s ‘display’ some discretion

Williamsport City Council has amended its fireworks ordinance to reflect more restrictive hours, responding to the proliferation of dangerous, loud independent displays in recent years.

The new restrictions call for fireworks detonation only during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from the weekend before July 4 through the following weekend and from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Frankly, there should not be a need to enforce this ordinance. That’s because regulations prohibit detonation of fireworks closer than 150 feet from a structure. In Williamsport, there aren’t many places more than 150 feet apart.

Somehow we are guessing that restriction will be ignored. At the very least, we hope the restricted hours will be observed so people can get some sleep.

Here, it shouldn’t be as difficult to set off fireworks far away from residences, though it always seems to be.

Besides being dangerous, setting off fireworks in the wee hours of the morning is rude, the textbook example of a lack of consideration for neighbors.

The proliferation of private fireworks displays does not just happen in Williamsport.

DuBoistown Borough Council is considering a fireworks ordinance after what residents have described as “a war zone” this past July 4. To those who view the hill on the south side of the Susquehanna River while attending the city-sanctioned fireworks display, that description rings accurate.

What would help most of all is a revisitation by the state of a state law passed last fall that deemed more display fireworks as consumer fireworks.

All that did was set the stage for a much heavier use of larger, more powerful fireworks. Was that really necessary? Are private fireworks displays really that necessary in an era when there already are a host of professional, public displays?

Aren’t we asking for an accidental tragedy?

We hope state lawmakers will revisit their fireworks regulations this fall.

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