Letter to Editor

Dear sir:

On July 3, 1776, Future U.S. President John Adam suggested in a now famous letter to his wife Abigail that Independence Day

"ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade?bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore."
The time has come to reevaluate the out-dated consumer fireworks laws in West Virginia that permit only the use of ground-based items. Consumer fireworks have never been safer and their use continues to increase each year. This alone provides a strong case for the regulated and sensible use of all consumer fireworks.

In 1976, Americans used 29 million pounds of consumer fireworks, and in 1976, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 11,100 fireworks-related injuries, which breaks down to 38.3 injuries per 100,000 pounds of consumer fireworks used.

By 2009, the use of consumer fireworks sky rocketed to 213.9 million pounds, and in 2009 the CPSC reported only 8,800 fireworks-related injuries, which breaks down to 4.1 injuries per 100,000 pounds.

In the short span of 33 years, use of fireworks in America has increased over 700%, while injuries have dropped an amazing 89%.

The American Fireworks Standards Laboratory began testing fireworks at the factory level in China in 1994 for compliance with U.S. federal manufacturing and performance standards. If the products fail the AFSL testing, they cannot be imported into the U.S. Phantom Fireworks is one of the founding members of the AFSL.

Clearly the AFSL testing is just one of the components contributing to the dramatic improved fireworks safety record. CPSC and ATF safety initiatives, together with an aggressive safety campaign backed by the National Council on Fireworks Safety and the individual fireworks distributors like Phantom Fireworks, have all helped to produce a smarter and safer buying public.

It is indeed unfortunate that illegal explosives and unlicensed and unregulated devices seem to materialize each year in response to consumer demand. These illegal and dangerous devices can be virtually eliminated with the availability of legal, regulated consumer fireworks.

The consumer fireworks safety record and greatly improving injury statistics are manipulated and misrepresented by anti-fireworks groups promoting their agendas to eliminate Americans' right to celebrate freedom with traditional fireworks as envisioned by John Adams. The naysayers are wrong, as the facts are indisputable. Fireworks-related injuries have decreased dramatically against a significant increase in use.

Now is the time to write or e-mail your state legislator and ask for reconsideration of the out-dated consumer fireworks laws. Tell your legislator that you support the right to celebrate freedom with fireworks in the spirit of John Adams, and that you support the sensible and regulated use of all consumer fireworks.

Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.

Very truly yours,

William A. Weimer
Phantom Fireworks Vice President

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