Elk Grove considers banning fireworks sales

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ELK GROVE -- The Elk Grove City Council is looking at options to help its Fireworks Task Force, including entirely banning legal fireworks in the city.

The City Council asked city staff to bring them options on how to better deal with the high number of incidents of illegal fireworks used around Independence Day that threaten property and people.

Elk Grove police get between 200 and 300 complaints and reports of illegal fireworks use each Fourth of July.

During the evening of the 4th, police say it’s difficult to track down illegal fireworks because there are so many other light flashes and sounds.

"It would help the task force focus better on illegal activity because all fireworks would be illegal activity," said Elk Grove’s Assistant Development Services Director Shane Diller.

Diller said the downside is that nearly 40 nonprofits would lose an important revenue source from running fireworks booths in the city.

That is a concern for Elk Grove resident and mother Ashley Hanson. She also said her kids would be missing out on a tradition practiced since she was a child.

"It would be unfair to punish everybody for the few people who are using them incorrectly and illegally," Hanson told FOX40.

Another option offered by city staff is to change the date of the highly popular Red, White and Blue fireworks show at Elk Grove Regional Park. Moving it to another date prior to July 4th would allow more officers to patrol the streets.

But that would incur up to $20,000 in costs because police would still have to staff the big fireworks show.

A third option is to increase the focus on the task force’s educational efforts to reduce illegal fireworks use. Since the task force was formed two years ago, the rate of illegal fireworks use and confiscation has gone down slightly.

City staff is not recommending a course of action but said it is presenting options as discussion points for the council so it can form a direction for the city and the police.

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