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EDITORIAL Enforcing laws against fireworks nearly impossible

There's a perpetual argument about whether laws that are difficult or impossible to enforce should remain on the books. For instance, it was nearly impossible for authorities to enforce the prohibition of alcohol. Despite crime, pain and heartbre...

There's a perpetual argument about whether laws that are difficult or impossible to enforce should remain on the books. For instance, it was nearly impossible for authorities to enforce the prohibition of alcohol. Despite crime, pain and heartbreak caused by alcohol abusers, the majority of people still wanted the right to enjoy a relaxing drink. There weren't enough police to enforce such an unpopular rule.

Making matters worse, alcohol was readily available, despite the ban. Blind pigs were prevalent, particularly in Superior, where most people could have a drink with little fear of being arrested.

But that was 70 years ago. It could never happen today, right?

Wrong.

Anyone who tried to get a good night's sleep in the days around July 4 recalls the constant explosions made by illegal fireworks. In addition to the city's official show, there seemingly were sideshows on every corner of Superior. The same was true in Duluth.

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Despite a city ordinance banning such products, Superior police didn't issue any citations, although some violators were given warnings. That might explain why so many people thumb their nose at this regulation. But it also should be noted that police have bigger fish to fry. They can't ignore violent crimes to chase down kids with Black Cats and Roman candles.

Making matters worse is Wisconsin's convoluted fireworks law. Out of state residents can legally purchase numerous fireworks in Wisconsin that can't legally be sold to folks who actually live here. So anyone with an out of state ID can buy firecrackers and skyrockets for their Wisconsin friends and relatives with little fear of repercussion.

Ready availability combined with the lack of resources to enforce the local ordinance creates the situation we now have -- widespread violations.

Does that justify eliminating fireworks law? After all, explosives are dangerous if used improperly. People suffer injuries every year.

To a large degree, it doesn't matter. Violations are so widespread and so ignored that regulations mean little to nothing -- and everybody knows it. Without a tougher state law and the resources to enforce it, the existing situation will continue.

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