It’s that time of the year when sounds of bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles echo through many communities in our region. You can already hear the Fourth of July being celebrated in many local neighborhoods. Some of this loud and irritating noise is coming from the fireworks illegally ignited inside Johnson City.
And yes, as we’ve reminded readers in this space many times before, fireworks are forbidden in Johnson City.
The city is among a number of municipalities in Tennessee that restrict the sale and use of fireworks. There is no exception — not even for the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. If you are found in possession of fireworks in Johnson City, police say they will confiscate them and issue you a citation.
Catching the culprits, however, is the problem. Police say perpetrators are often long gone by the time they arrive. There are so many who violate this city ordinance every year that it hardly seems worth the effort to enforce it. In fact, neighboring governments practically beg Johnson Citians to break the law.
They allow fireworks vendors to pitch their tents in parts of Carter, Washington and Unicoi counties to sell fireworks to city residents. Some of these stands are even operated by volunteer firefighters, who sell fireworks annually to raise money for their departments.
Some Johnson City residents have suggested city leaders should repeal the city ordinance. Public safety officials say that would be a bad idea, and encourage city residents leave the pyrotechnics to the experts. One good way to do that is to be seated in a lawn chair at the 28th annual Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Celebration to be held Thursday on the grounds of Johnson City’s Freedom Hall Civic Center.
We want to hear from you. Will you be setting off your own fireworks to celebrate this Fourth of July?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please included your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.