Recent complaints about fireworks over the New Year holiday once again prove how popular pyrotechnics are when people want to celebrate ("Fireworks shock and intimidate," Jan. 13).

However, this fact does not excuse the use of fireworks in the early morning hours or in an unsafe manner.

Like other consumer products, such as barbecue grills and bicycles, fireworks need to be used correctly to avoid property damage and personal injury. That's why the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that each pyrotechnic device be labeled with instructions on how to use it correctly.

I feel most Baltimore County residents do use fireworks in a safe manner. If they did not, there would be scores of fires and injuries in the county every New Year's Eve and July 4th. But for the few that do misuse the products or fire them after midnight, police should confiscate the pyrotechnics and put an end to the celebration.

As someone who has safely used fireworks for over 50 years without as much as a burned finger, I strongly oppose any attempt to stop those who use fireworks in a safe manner just because a minority behaves recklessly. In a free society, the majority should not have to pay for the careless actions of the minority.

I shall continue to use my sparkling fireworks to entertain family and friends on the holidays, but I'll be doing it at a reasonable hour and with safety in mind first and foremost. I urge everyone else to do the same.

Jack Leonard, Lutherville

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.