Reality of enforcing fireworks ordinance

Voters in Southwest Harbor last week approved tightening restrictions on the use of consumer fireworks in that community.

Now comes the hard part.

Finding out who is responsible when things go bang, boom and flash in the night is nearly impossible. Police undoubtedly will try their best. But the primary compliance tools, as with most ordinances, are the good graces of the citizenry and a common dedication to obeying the law.

For people who see nothing wrong with blowing off aerial rockets and setting off large explosions, usually long after dark when most hardworking people are already in bed, subscription to that virtue is seriously challenged.

If being a good neighbor had been a high priority amongst the fans of fireworks, the new law wouldn’t be needed in the first place.

Consequently, the law in Southwest Harbor against shooting off fireworks is unlikely to play much of a role in curtailing their use.

Polite pressure from friends and family members who respect the law probably will accomplish more than the threat of a trip to court or fine.

Making it clear from the start that fireworks won’t be tolerated is critical. Those aggrieved by the use of fireworks should call police the moment any illegal display starts. Rapid and repeated visits by the local constabulary may be needed to cajole compliance and remind those few about the new regulations.

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