Lawmakers weigh in on Oahu’s fireworks ban

Local News

You’ve probably seen them or heard them since the holiday season kicked off.

Illegal fireworks. Aerials and bombs are going off across the island.

There are even videos of people showing off their fireworks stash.

We talked to two city council members about revisiting Oahu’s fireworks ban.

We showed Councilman Brandon Elefante a YouTube video showcasing a stash of illegal fireworks here in Hawaii. He tells us despite contraband getting to our island, the ban is working. 

“I’ve seen a level where it’s come down, yet you still have those aerials. It’s been quieter in that sense, and those who have experienced  asthma, it’s been better off at times especially during New Year’s Eve,” said Elefante. 

Emergency Medical Service records show that on New Year’s Day, there were zero fireworks-related injuries in 2015. The most injuries EMS has seen was the year before with a total of 10. 

Fireworks-related Injuries from 7 p.m. Dec. 31 to 7 a.m. Jan. 1:

2017: 3
2016: 2
2015: 0
2014: 10
2013: 2
2012: 5

Councilman Elefante says looking to state legislators will help with enforcement. 

“They can look at our current Hawaii Revised Statutes and look at ways to improve or strengthen the ban, whether that may be filming or recording for evidence because you have to catch it in the act,” he said. 

On the other hand, Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says the fireworks ban has made things worse. She tells us she’s always supported keeping fountain fireworks available for consumers. 

“Now there’s nothing to do so people start bringing in illegal things. We never had all these bombs and stuff before and now we do,” said Kobayashi. 

When it comes to people posting videos of their illegal fireworks stash, Kobayashi tells us both sides of the issue need to come together.

“Listen to people that are bringing in stuff like that as to what we can do to stop them from doing that if they had other legal things to do and not just a firecracker but the fountains,” she said. 

Anyone found selling, possessing, or using illegal fireworks could face five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

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