HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s been nearly a month since the New Year but many Honolulu residents say they’re still hearing the booms of illegal fireworks.
Tuesday night, the Pearl City neighborhood board asked for help from state lawmakers and the federal government.
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“We’re talking about not New Year’s Eve, we’re talking from October all the way through January. I still got fireworks going off in Pearl City,” Neighborhood board chair Larry Veray said.
The resolution, which asks both state and congressional lawmakers to have federal agencies like the ATF help, passed unanimously Tuesday. They’re asking for tracking, inspections and prosecutions to stop the trafficking.
“I’m confident, very confident that they can nip this thing in the bud and because they have the technology,” Veray said.
The state legislature has 16 bills currently related to illegal fireworks, ranging from creating police enforcement units to increasing fines. Senator Karl Rhoads wants to do more to inspect shipping containers.
“There really isn’t any systematic structure for fireworks at this point.” Sen. Rhoads said.
He’s introduced a bill to bring in two dogs that sniff for explosives to inspect incoming containers.
“I’m quite confident in the dogs,” Rhoads said. “The part of it that I think is more of a challenge is just the sheer volume of containers that comes in. I don’t think that we have the resources to check every single one of them and the shipping companies and Young Brothers are concerned about how much it will slow things down,”
That’s why when this was proposed before, it was shot down.
Representative Gregg Takayama introduced a similar bill to the state house of representatives last year, but he says that it was opposed by state harbors and law enforcement because of lack of resources. He adds that stevedores, Matson, and the business community pushed back because of concern of possible delays.
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“I am as frustrated as each and every one of you are in terms of not being able to move a good law forward,” Rep. Takayama said. “In the past, we’ve increased penalties, but that’s not necessarily going to work because unless you have the tools to enforce the penalties, it’s not going to help.”
Rhoads is asking for the $750,000 the state gives for inspections to be expanded with the bill, which has passed it’s first reading.