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The fireworks menace: this year, a solution

Another year, another three-week period of fireworks frightening the dog and making baby bigmouth’s bedtime an ordeal. Not to mention the depressing headlines: this week’s local paper tells of fireworks being chucked through a hearing-impaired pensioner’s letterbox. What fun!

Personally I don’t see any reason why fireworks should be available to anyone without a licence when every town has its own, properly run spectacular, but I appreciate that banning punters from buying explosives probably violates their human right to be a selfish bastard. So I have a solution: any adult can buy fireworks provided they pass a simple test.

Here’s the test:

Shopkeeper: hello! Would you like to buy some fireworks?
Customer: yes please!

Customer! You have failed the test!

8 replies on “The fireworks menace: this year, a solution”

It’s a bit weird that, given the paranoia over bombing and terrorism that exists in so many areas of life (the government, for example, won’t let us take liquids on to planes and think that it’s possible to make a dirty bomb from smoke alarm parts), that people are allowed to buy explosives at this time of year, no questions asked.

But, Gary, what you’re suggesting here looks an awful lot like “No-one’s enforcing the existing law so let’s pass a new one”.

I don’t want to see fireworks sales stopped. I want to see violent antisocial bastards locked up.

A quick google:

It is an offence under section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875 to throw or set off fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. The power to enforce this section of the Act rests with the police. Anyone found guilty is liable to pay a fine of up to £5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to six months. Penalty notices for disorder (on-the-spot fines) can also be issued for this offence, attracting the upper tier fine of £80.

In Regulations made under the Fireworks Act 2003, it is also an offence for the under 18s to possess fireworks in a public place and for anyone to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am). Police also have the power to issue penalty notices for disorder for these offences. Again, the offence attracts the upper tier fine of £80.

Under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is either imprisonment up to 51 weeks or a fine of up to £20,000 or both. Enforcement of this section of the Act rests with Trading Standards, the Police or the RSPCA as appropriate.

That was from the Department of Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, by the way. (www.berr.gov.uk)

Plus, of course, throwing a firework at a person is assault, regardless of the laws surrounding fireworks.

Wander down Allison Street on a Bonfire Night and witness the police just sort of keeping an eye on things as fireworks explode all over the street. This is obviously one of those areas where they’ve decided there’s an “acceptable level” and they just hang around in case things get really bad, when, as far as us sane people can see, they already are.

I also meant, by the way, that no-one turns into a violent thug for just that one day a year. Half the people chucking firworks at passers-by should have been locked up for the sundry other offenses they no doubt committed at other times of year.

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