Maui News

Fireworks control: State lawmakers aim to strengthen crackdown on illegal pyrotechnics

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Awaiting action by Gov. Josh Green, House Bill 2193 would strengthen the ability of state law enforcement and fire officers to control illegal fireworks in Hawaiʻi. File photo credit: Carl Yoshihara (7.6.19)

A bill to help Hawaiʻi law enforcement officers crack down on illegal fireworks has made its way to the desk of Gov. Josh Green.

House Bill 2193 amends Act 67, which established the Illegal Fireworks Task Force last year within the Hawaiʻi Department of Law Enforcement. According to testimony from the department, the bill addresses some weaknesses in illegal fireworks enforcement, including: requirements for licensing, recording, and reporting of fireworks related commodities; inspection and disposal authorities for state and county agencies; and a mechanism to recover costs arising from the storage and disposal of any illegal fireworks confiscated by authorities.

The bill comes in the wake of the department’s seizure of more than 187,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in at least four separate operations. The state’s crackdown on pyrotechnics comes as Hawaiʻi’s dry season ramps up and with rising concerns about wildfires after the Aug. 8, 2023, Lahaina and Upcountry wildfires.


The House bill authorizes law enforcement and fire officers to enter and inspect the premises of anyone licensed or permitted to have fireworks and to verify compliance with the state’s Fireworks Control Law. It also establishes procedures for the Department of Law Enforcement to conduct administrative inspections of controlled premises.

Certain licensees and permittees will be required to keep records and maintain inventories, and they must report any stolen fireworks or pyrotechnic articles. In addition, a law enforcement agency or county fire department will be authorized to safely dispose of confiscated fireworks and pyrotechnics.

The measure requires violators to be held liable for storage and disposal costs. And, each type of prohibited firework constitutes a separate violation.


Larry Veray, chair of the Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21, submitted written testimony to state lawmakers in support of the bill, in addition to asking congressional staff for assistance in interdicting illegal fireworks arriving in Hawaiʻi.

“It is the illegal aerial bombs that have the most negative impact on our neighborhoods,” Veray said. “We desperately require law enforcement to detect, interdict, locate and make arrests on individuals who are involved in organized crime making millions of dollars on shipments of illegal fireworks arriving in Hawaiʻi all year around in Trojan Horse shipping containers.”

The illegal shipments supply an underground black market in illegal fireworks, which are stored in covert locations in the islands, he said.


“Regretfully, many of these storage areas are in residential areas,” Veray said. “I am very concerned that it is only a matter of time where and entire neighborhood could experience loss of life from an accidental garage or warehouse explosion.”

Green has until June 25 to issue a notice of intent to veto any bills. Any bill not on that list will become law without or without his signature.

If a bill is on the “intent to veto” list, the governor then has until July 10 to veto it.

Brian Perry
Brian Perry worked as a staff writer and editor at The Maui News from 1990 to 2018. Before that, he was a reporter at the Pacific Daily News in Agana, Guam. From 2019 to 2022, he was director of communications in the Office of the Mayor.
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