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City of Bothell

Advisory Proposition No. 1
Sale, Possession and Discharge of Consumer Fireworks in the City of Bothell

The Bothell City Council is calling for an advisory election to determine whether the sale, possession, and discharge of consumer fireworks should be prohibited within the City of Bothell. The prohibition of the sale, possession or discharge of consumer fireworks would not affect properly licensed and permitted public displays of fireworks.

Shall the sale, possession and discharge of consumer (commonly referred to as safe and sane) fireworks be prohibited in the City of Bothell?



The City of Bothell has put forth a non-binding advisory measure on the ballot to gauge voter sentiment about the issue of a ban on fireworks. Currently, consumer fireworks (commonly referred to as safe and sane) may be sold and purchased in Bothell from July 1st to July 4th and ignited and discharged between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on July 4th.

The City recognizes that fireworks are a traditional way of celebrating national independence on the Fourth of July, but the City also recognizes risks and consequences related to the discharge of consumer fireworks that may be detrimental to the public, health, safety and welfare.

The City has placed this advisory measure on the ballot to allow the citizens of Bothell to express their opinion on whether or not the City Council should prohibit the sale, possession and discharge of consumer fireworks in Bothell. While not binding, the City Council will use the results of this advisory measure to continue its discussions on fireworks.

For questions about this measure, contact: Paul Byrne, Interim City Attorney, 425-806-6222,

Every year, in the short time span they are available, fireworks generate over 8000 injuries in the United States with nearly 30% of those injured being children under the age of 15.  Statewide, in 2014, 57% of all fireworks-related injuries were attributed to “safe and sane” legal fireworks.  Several hundred thousand dollars in property damage were also incurred by public and private property owners.  In King County, there were 90 injuries treated by Fire/Rescue or hospitals in the 2014 4th of July season.  Improper handling, reckless use, and product alterations all contribute significantly to injuries incurred.  Additionally, anyone with pets can attest to the trauma that animals incur as a result of loud explosions.

Because of these startling statistics an increasing number of our neighboring communities have banned private fireworks in favor of professionally-produced shows.  It’s time for Bothell to consider this option in the interest of public safety.  Consideration of such a ban needs to include resources for enforcement as well as public education.  Fireworks, when appropriately handled by professionals, are a wonderful way to celebrate a holiday.  However, we need to consider whether they are really “safe and sane” in the hands of non-professionals. 

There are two types of fireworks being used in Bothell; legal and illegal. Legal fireworks are purchased and enjoyed by many of our families and neighbors. They have unified our diverse community as we congregate, socialize and celebrate together on our national holiday in a traditional way. State legal fireworks are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, sold by state-licensed and inspected local fireworks stands, and run by non-profit organizations, including local churches. A ban on all fireworks would not stop Illegal fireworks (m-80’s, ariels, firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc.) from happening. Cities who have successfully banned all fireworks still experience noise, fires, and injuries (statistics show Lacey and Tacoma experience exponentially more) because citizens can still purchase non-sanctioned fireworks by other means. Overall, Bothellites should continue to be trusted and held accountable for the safe and responsible purchase, use, and discharge of personal fireworks on the 4th of July. This freedom affords us the opportunity to teach our children: We must be careful with our privileges, and respectful of our neighbors, the law, and our environment. Let's discuss a respectful compromise. “Enforce the current laws; punish the lawbreakers, not responsible people!” Please vote “No” on the ban.

Various health and safety groups, citing the unacceptable fireworks injury rate (collected by the CPSC) have all recommended the complete ban on sales and private displays of fireworks.  Revenues for charities from fireworks sales (after the vendor takes their share) could easily be replaced by safer options.  And, rather than unifying neighbors, fireworks often pit pet-owning neighbors against those running elaborate displays (with legal or illegal products).  Join us in beginning the discussion!

Submitted by: Richard Molitor, Bonny Riggs, Judith Carpenter, 206-495-2977

Local, not national statistics show that Bothellites are already responsible with the use of legal fireworks. According to statistics reported by the City of Bothell to the Washington State Fire Marshals office, in the last 5 years there have been no injuries or personal property damage due to the use of legal fireworks.  Our interests and energy should lie in how we enforce the current ban, not by enacting a new one.

Submitted by: Ginger Warren, Brianna Bennitt, Robert Hartzog,


For questions about this measure, contact: Paul Byrne, Interim City Attorney, 425-806-6222,

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