SUPERVISOR BARGER REACHES OUT TO FEDERAL AGENCIES ASKING FOR HELP PREVENTING DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL FIREWORKS
LOS ANGELES COUNTY —In response to an influx of illegal and increasingly dangerous fireworks, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger sent letters to federal law enforcement agencies to ask for their help and collaboration to stop this alarming trend. These letters were prompted by a recent fatal house explosion in San Bernardino County that killed two men, in addition to an increase in community concern for the perils that illegal fireworks pose to local neighborhoods.
“Because illegal fireworks are smuggled from outside California, our federal partners are in a unique position to help local jurisdictions combat the influx of fireworks contraband,” said Supervisor Barger. “I am hopeful that Customs agents can keep fireworks in mind when inspecting port shipments and vehicles crossing the border, and I ask that Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents maintain a heightened awareness about the commercial illegal fireworks trade.”
In the letters Supervisor Barger sent to the regional chiefs representing the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, she outlined her concerns about the use of illegal fireworks and emphasized the increased danger of wildfires caused by illegal fireworks in drought-stricken California.
“Our office shares the concern of our constituents of the significant fire danger this poses, particularly in consideration of the illegal firework explosion that occurred in a home in Ontario, California, on March 16, 2021,” Barger said in the letters to the agencies.
The March 16 explosion that killed two men occurred in an Ontario home’s illegal stockpile of fireworks.
Skyrockets, mortars, firecrackers, M-80s and all other fireworks that explode or fly are prohibited throughout California. However, illegal fireworks are imported by individuals from other states where they are legal and are shipped across the U.S. borders and from overseas. Their use has become increasingly common on July 4 and throughout the year. This contraband has been a concerning trend in Southern California and in the 5th Supervisorial District, which Supervisor Barger represents, including the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, San Gabriel Valley, and San Fernando Valley.
The letters were sent April 27 to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Copies of the letters can be found here.