RealNews

New Rules May Ban Some July 4th Fireworks

They’re counted on by America’s small towns to provide “oohs” and “ahhs” on the Fourth of July: private clubs, family gatherings, community picnics and the like. But this year, unless they’ve kept abreast of new federal anti-terrorism rules, the only fireworks going off at such events are the kind you can buy at a roadside stand. Under the federal Safe Explosives Act, aimed at improving homeland security, people wishing to put on large fireworks displays as of May 24 must have a permit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That entails a background check, fingerprinting and personal interviews with ATF agents, a process that can take as much as three months. Municipalities are exempt from the permit process, so cities’ large displays are in the clear. But many displays may not go on this year, if those responsible for hosting them were caught unaware. In Fairfield, Iowa, a 40-year tradition will end this Fourth of July when the sky above Fairfield Golf and Country Club stays dark. Full Story

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