Bill to close fireworks loophole flames out inside Statehouse

Posted at 11:24 AM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 19:21:53-05

A bill to close the illegal fireworks loophole failed to secure a full hearing inside the Statehouse on Monday.

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

The House State Affairs Committee shut down the bill sponsored by Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, that would amend language in current law to close the fireworks loophole.

The legislation was publicly supported by Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan. Doan was urging 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 cause of which was determined to be illegal fireworks. 

“The ability to purchase illegal fireworks apparently trumps the right of residents to protect their home from fires," Chief Doan said in a release. "This summer when someone’s home burns down due to aerial fireworks you can blame the House State Affairs Committee."

Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer also released a statement regarding today's decision. 

“We know folks buying illegal fireworks are not driving to other states to ignite them, even though they’re signing an agreement stating they will," Niemeyer said. "What the Fire Chiefs in Idaho were asking for was consistency in the law."
The bill will not receive any further consideration in the Statehouse this session. Further discussion would have had to happen in a full committee hearing.