Bill closing firework loophole to be introduced at Statehouse

Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 19:19:14-05

Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, has a bill in the works to make illegal fireworks truly illegal. 

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan announced his plan to urge state lawmakers to pass legislation to make it unlawful to possess or purchase illegal fireworks following 2016's Table Rock fire which burned 2,500 acres last June. The fire cost taxpayers $341,000.

An illegal firework was determined to be the cause of the fire.

"It's time to change this," Doan said.

Due to a loophole in the law, retailers can sell illegal aerial fireworks if the customer signs an affidavit stating he or she won't light the fireworks in Idaho.

"It would be similar to saying you can buy meth, but you can't smoke it," Erpelding said.

Erpelding's legislation aims to amend the language in current law to close the firework loophole in an effort to cut down on sales in the state. Aerial fireworks will still be bought and sold on Idaho's Indian reservations, though.

"What we're trying to do is fix a loophole... save a lot of private property, cut down on fire costs and make it a little more difficult for folks to get ahold of fireworks and light them off in dry fields," Erpelding said.

Firework retailers have pushed back on similar legislation in the past.

Erpelding plans to formerly introduce his bill in committee next week.