NJ Mayors Complain About Fireworks, Want Law Changed Back
The incessant "boom boom boom" of neighborhood fireworks displays in several Monmouth County shore towns during the Independence Day holiday have the mayors looking to make a change to the law before next year so they don't get another barrage of complaints.
But two legislators, including one who sponsored the 2017 fireworks legislation, said it's up to individual towns to control the use of all firework displays.
Asbury Park Mayor John Moor called the amateur displays were “unbelievable” and said he will ask legislators to look at the 2017 law that legalized some fireworks in the state.
"If there is something the city can do to stop this locally we will. If not we will petition our 11th District Legislators to revisit this law. This year was unbelievable every day, every night," Moor wrote.
Mayor Christopher Siciliano in neighboring Ocean Township said he got 50 calls from his constituents and thinks the lack of scheduled municipal displays and the postponement of others created a perfect storm for those who like to fire their own.
"That coupled with people being outside and wanting to do something and New Jersey making selling them legal we exploded with a fervor," Siciliano told the Townsquare News Network. "It went on Monday night, Tuesday even. We had our share this year."
He has nothing against fireworks and understands that it helps people blow off a little steam especially coming out of the pandemic. But he'd like to see some control over it.
"Fireworks from July First through July Sixth, nothing after ten o'clock. You can't fire off these mortar rounds for crying out loud. And you have to be mindful of the pets that stress out over it. That's the number one complaint I get every year," Siciliano said on Facebook.
Two legislators had sympathy for the mayors' plight but said heavy duty fireworks have always been and remain illegal for regular use.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, one of the sponsors of the 2017 legislation, told us all the loud fireworks displays Moor and Siciliano heard are already illegal in New Jersey and put the responsibility on law enforcement.
What kind of fireworks are legal in NJ?
"I live with a number of pets. It's very unsettling for them. All that activity is illegal. Local law enforcement's gotta be aggressive and shut these things down. It's a national phenomenon this explosion, no pun intended, of fireworks being used the way they're being used," Burzichelli said.
The only fireworks legalized in 2017 was ground displays like sparklers and a few other novelties like snakes, glow worms, smoke devices and trick noisemakers.
"No M80s, no airborne fireworks. You have to be a licensed person to fire off fireworks in New Jersey. They're not legal to be sold here and they're not legal to use unless you have a license," Burzichelli said.
State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, said he had a conversation with Moor about fireworks and told him it's up to towns to enforce the law and to come up with ordinances to control their use.
"They can pass ordinances on the times, they can pass ordinances where fireworks can go off, but this is up to them," Gopal said.