Nobody would ever call Republican Ed Gillespie’s proposal on fireworks the most important political stance in this year’s race for governor. As one pundit quipped, it’s almost guaranteed to win him the 15-year-old-male voting demographic. It probably won’t swing the election.
The thing is, Gillespie is right.
Virginia law prohibits the sale of fireworks that are commonly sold in many other states, including some of its neighbors. There’s no good reason for that. Fireworks can be dangerous, but then so can a host of other consumer products, from gas barbecue grills to motorcycles. If Virginians are incapable of handling fireworks safely, then the General Assembly had better start banning a whole host of other products as well.
Gillespie probably overstates his case when he claims that liberalizing fireworks laws will generate “thousands of jobs” in the commonwealth, especially since fireworks sales occur almost exclusively during just a couple of weeks every summer. Not every proposal has to be justified on economic-development terms.
Fireworks are fun and mostly harmless, and that’s reason enough to let people buy them.