?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

It all runs downhill

The formation of the Office of Homeland Security and the passing into law of the Homeland Security Act is a perfect example of governement overreacting to something. Many people have already stated this so it's nothing new. Lots of shuffling around of departments and such but like all "national" laws, the lawmakers fail to think about what will happen to the guys at the bottom of the hill when all the crap finally runs down.

I kind of figured all this would have an effect on our pyrotechnic displays but it's going to get so people either won't be able to afford to do fireworks for major holidays or they won't want to hassle with all the paperwork.

Because of all the liability questions, our liability insurance for outdoor events has gone up 400% from last year...OUCH!

The Bureau of ATF is considering reclassifying all display shells above 7 inches in diamter as Class A. This puts them in the same class with dynamite and plastic explosives and means you won't see many of those super huge effects at fireworks shows in the US anymore. 1) Because they will go way up in price because of limited demand and 2) Pyro teams will not be able to afford to become licensed to handle Class A explosives and 3) The companies that manufacture the big shells will be so constrained by US laws, they may refuse to sell them in the US altogether. Right now there are only 2 classifications of fireworks. Class C is Consumer Class and includes everything you can buy at roadside stands and up to 2.4 inches in diameter. 2.5 inches diameter and above, all the way up to 16 inches diamter is Class C or Professional Class. And mind you, a 16 inch shell now costs around $1500 per shell so reclassifying it would probably drive it into the $2500 price range and that gets a little pricey even for the big city shows.

The definite change this year is a requirement for the organization that buys an outdoor show to apply for a Federal Permit 90 days in advance of the show. This is so the FBI can run a background check on each and every member of the pyro team as well as the head of the sponsoring organization. This doesn't apply to municipalities (towns and cities) however which I find strange. But still if we have to tell all the folks who want to have a fireworks dispaly at their company parties that they have to get an FBI background check done, how many people are going to want to go through that?

The Homeland Security Act also set up a provision for each state to make new laws concerning who can handle explosives. And so of course, Illinois went overboard. It used to be we could go over to our plant in Iowa and pick up fireworks for private shows the day or weekend before the shoot and bring them back and store them in my garage as long as we left them in their static/flame resistant boxes until the time of the shoot. Now anyone who purchase fireworks and stores them overnight (I'm assuming this won't mean the people who buy sparklers from the fireworks stands but who knows) must have a permit from the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals. This permit has two parts. $55 to get fingerprinted and a background check by the FBI and $75 for a 50 question test which you must get at least 40 questions correct on. At least the permit is good for 3 years.

These new laws may also have the eventual effect of forcing the roadside fireworks supermarkets in states like Tennessee, South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri out of business with prices and regulations.

It's funny that in this country one of the most widely recognized traditions to celebrate Independence Day is the lighting of fireworks and yet the Department created to safeguard our security and independence may be the one that ends that tradition.

*shakes his head sadly*

Wander

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
kittles
Feb. 26th, 2003 03:39 pm (UTC)
I was foaming over the mouth over the new cabinet position, the new office, the patriot act ... I called my congressmen and pushed people to write. To no avail. *sigh* So now I'm going to whine about it a lot. :)

Relevant to your post, that thing about the background checks is astonishing. That's going to cost a *fortune*, and who will be picking up the tab? Doesn't the FBI have better things to do than run checks on pyro techs all day long? I should certainly hope they do.
wander
Feb. 26th, 2003 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re:
This will justify the expense of hiring a bunch of new agents me thinks. It's also going to coast us a fortune because we have like 20 people on or pyro team and each individual is responsible for paying for the permit. Fun Fun.

W

i
Feb. 26th, 2003 03:45 pm (UTC)
most of us aren't even allowed to have them. you're still ahead of the game.
wander
Feb. 26th, 2003 03:49 pm (UTC)
Re:
Not for long probably. I can see the point of not having roadside sales in some states like AZ or NM. But for a lot of us including you I would think, fireworks are a big part of our childhood memories and for most of us, what we identify with the 4th of July. I wonder if many people will protest when we can no longer see a fireworks display on the 4th.

Even without the new laws though, the only reason I could have them in the first place is to do a show for someone. They are illegal in IL as well.

W
ryl
Feb. 26th, 2003 04:35 pm (UTC)
The Office of Homeland Security: Sucking the Joy Out of Life for a Little Over a Year Now.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

owl
wander
Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

Latest Month

December 2016
S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Teresa Jones