Amid complaints, Michigan lawmaker pushes for new fireworks legislation

Senator Steven Beida, as well as two local veterans, say the current standard for fireworks is too lax.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The sound can be an absolute nightmare for some.

"I stay home, I don't participate in Fourth of July," veteran Catherine Buckley said. "The noise, it's devastating."

Buckley and Keith Wakefield are both veterans.

"I've known many guys and women who when a firework goes off, they hit the floor -- it's an involuntary response," Wakefield said.

Which is why they believe more consideration needs to be given during holidays that typically involve fireworks.

"It's hard on some veterans, it's devastating, it brings back a lot of memories," Buckley said.

State Sen. Steven Bieda believes he has a solution.

"Provide more local control so that those communities can decide whether or not people can use fireworks and put some time and place restrictions, maybe thinking outside the box too, consider that cities and municipalities perhaps designate certain areas within their boundaries for people to use fireworks," Bieda said.

He believes the local municipalities should be ones enacting and policing its own laws.

"We've run into issues in some neighborhoods, where it's literally like a war zone," Bieda said.

But the best solution is one all three agree with.

"Common sense and common human decency and appreciation for your neighbors, we shouldn't have to legislate that," Bieda said.

"Every veteran handles PTSD differently, I think the biggest things is to be aware of your neighbor if any of them are veterans," Buckley said..

Bieda's legislation has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

The State Fire Marshal's Office released the following safety tips for the upcoming holiday: 

ALWAYS:

  • Purchase fireworks from an authorized retailer and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Have an adult supervise fireworks activities, including sparklers.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then immediately back away to a safe distance.
  • Keep people and pets out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks outdoors on a driveway or other paved surface at least 25 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Douse spent fireworks in a bucket of water before discarding them.

NEVER:

  • Allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Try to re-light “duds” or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. (Rather, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.)
  • Point or throw fireworks at other people.
  • Carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Buy fireworks packaged in brown paper or use unlabeled fireworks, they are for professional use.
  • Never experiment with or make your own fireworks.

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