MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Fourth of July is fast approaching.
And as it gets closer, you’ll hear a lot of Minnesotans say they’re going to Wisconsin or South Dakota to buy fireworks.
It’s legal in those states to shoot aerial fireworks (with a permit) or ones that explode.
But fireworks that explode or shoot into the air are illegal in Minnesota.
“There has been legislation in the past, but the fire service has been very staunch against legalized fireworks,” said Bruce West, the state fire marshal.
He says the fire service was a big reason why Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that would have legalized aerial fireworks in 2012.
To West, it’s all about safety.
“Having that ability to have some of the propelled devices, the aerial devices, the tube devices, that are going to shoot in the air, there’s always the potential for more injuries,” West said.
In 2012, Minnesota reported 57 injuries related to fireworks.
While Wisconsin’s data is unavailable, Washington state, which has similar fireworks laws, reported 226 injuries and 1 death in 2012.
With Roman Candles and bottle rockets to offer, West knows firework sales skyrocket in Wisconsin.
But it’s the number of injuries here that he’s most concerned about.
“Some of these are very nasty from those exploding-type fireworks to the ones that propel into the air,” West said.
He added that injury numbers for pretty much every state are down, because so many go unreported.
About 75 percent of fireworks injuries happen to men.
You can face jail time or a fine in Minnesota if you are caught with illegal fireworks