On April 11, the Minnesota House took the rare step of trying to eliminate an antiquated law in the interest of personal freedom.
Enjoy it while you can, as it doesn't happen often.
Much like Sunday liquor sales, when it comes to purchasing and using fireworks, Minnesota's government tends to think it's smarter than you. And in the process, we continue to export commerce to Wisconsin and limit your ability to exercise your rights.
The Fireworks Freedom Act would allow Minnesotans to legally use firecrackers, bottle rockets and other aerial fireworks in this state around Independence Day. Not that the ban has stopped anyone before, as the fireworks stations just across the border in Nelson and Bluff Siding, Wisconsin can attest. For several weeks each summer, they do great business at the expense of Minnesota.
According to some studies, Minnesota loses roughly $5 million in sales tax revenue every year when people drive across the border to purchase fireworks. Over the years, I've heard from several border business owners that would like to sell legalized fireworks, and I've heard from many more people who don't want to be considered lawbreakers for shooting off a Black Cat.
That's the thing about the fireworks ban. It isn't preventing one Minnesotan who wants to light a bottle rocket from doing so.
The bill also allows aerial and audible devices to be sold and used from June 1 to July 10 each year. Only people above the age of 18 could make fireworks purchases. Local governments could charge an annual license fee to stores that want to sell fireworks and are able to prohibit them from being sold.
It's time for Minnesota to stop limiting the freedoms of responsible adults. It's also time for Minnesota to quit snuffing out business opportunities and sending them to Wisconsin. Let the people enjoy their fireworks, and let our state's economy benefit from their sales.