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Poll: Should Massachusetts Legalize Fireworks?

After last week's Independence Day celebrations, we want to know what you think about legalizing fireworks in Massachusetts.

Thousands of people in the area were able to enjoy fireworks last week to celebrate the Fourth of July with local shows at Patriot Place, Walpole and Sharon.

However, some took in illegal fireworks shot off by neighbors.

While State Senator James Timilty (D-Walpole), who represents Foxborough, has expressed his opposition to legalizing fireworks, Foxborough's State Rep. Jay Barrows is open to the idea, partly because the majority of his constituency that he has talked to is in favor of legalizing fireworks.

"I think we need to take a look at it," Barrows said of the issue.

Calling the fireworks ban more of a "Nanny State" issue than a partisan issue, Barrows argued that the Commonwealth is losing revenue to Rhode Island and New Hampshire when residents go across state boarders to purchase fireworks and bring them back to Massachusetts. 

Despite it being illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts from a state where they are legal, Massachusetts residents still drive to New Hampshire to purchase fireworks and use them back home. With Rhode Island legalizing fireworks in 2010, the long drive is no longer necessary with the Ocean State providing easier access for residents across southeastern Massachusetts.

While Barrows expressed interest in legalizing fireworks in the Commonwealth, Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary strongly opposes the idea.

"I’m not at all for the legalization of [fireworks]," O'Leary said. "I think our state is very astute in not legalizing fireworks. I think the tragedies that happened in several locations that have caused serious injuries are a prime example of why they don’t work. Unfortunately, many celebrations on the Fourth of July involve a different accelerant called alcohol and that’s certainly an accelerant for poor decision-making and when you have an explosive, bad things happen."

O'Leary said it was a relatively quiet Fourth of July in Foxborough last week in terms of incidents the police department responded to.

Currently, the penalty for using fireworks ranges from $10 to $100 with a mandatory seizing of the fireworks. The sale of fireworks can lead to a $100 to $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. 

With support to make fireworks legal from Rep. Barrows and opposition from Chief O'Leary, we want to know where you stand on the issue.

Today's question: What is your opinion on the legalization of fireworks? Is it something that can be done in a safe manner or are the dangers too high? Let us know in the comments and vote in the poll!

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