• Lawmakers call for major changes to new fireworks law

    By: Lori Geary

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Georgia’s new fireworks law is less than one week old, but after several neighborhoods Fourth of July celebrations, some lawmakers are calling for major changes. 

    Channel 2’s Lori Geary talked to some people in Southeast Atlanta, and some of them said allowing fireworks to go off until 2 a.m. is ridiculous. 

    Theresa Middlebrooks, chairwoman of the Lakewood Brown Smith Community, said she received dozens of calls from neighbors complaining about the fireworks that were going off well into the early morning hours of July 5. 

    According to the new Georgia law, that is legal, but some lawmakers said that is an unintended consequence that needs to change.

    “If they’re going to allow them to shoot it, at least put a time frame, a respectable time frame, at least (until) 10 o’clock,” Middlebrooks said. 

    Geary also spoke to Fayette County resident Vincent Watkins who also wants to see changes to the Georgia law. 

    “I can’t drive up and down the street with my radio blaring at 10 o’clock in the evening but I can go outside and launch a few explosives and wake everybody up,” he said. “These aren’t the little innocent firecrackers. These are explosives.” 

    State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), who represents parts of Southeast Atlanta is calling for major changes to the law. 

    She said the fireworks “set off my home alarm. Literally, my community sounded like Beirut.” 

    Current Georgia law allows fireworks to be set off until 2am on July 5th and Jan. 1.  On the remaining 363 days of the year, they’re allowed to be set off until midnight.

    "It’s my belief that 10 p.m. in a residential community is enough on the July 4th holiday, January 1st New Year’s Day.  The other 363 days, I don’t feel like we need to shoot fireworks in Georgia," Waites said, 

    Geary reached out to the sponsor of Georgia’s new fireworks law, state Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga). 

    He agreed that 2 a.m. is too late and said he has no reservations about looking at the law and fine-tuning it. 

    He also said he will push for a constitutional amendment where the tax revenue from the sale of fireworks will go toward something like trauma care or fire safety. 

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