Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order banning open burning and the private use of fireworks throughout Colorado in response to very dry conditions and the wildfires that have happened as a result.
"I would think that a complete ban on the sale and use of fireworks would be upheld against a constitutional challenge. That constitutional challenge would be, 'I have the right to be able to do what I want with my property under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution,'" Jan Laitos, a law professor at the University of Denver said. "The power that the state is using in this situation and the counties and cities have as well too is this enormous power called, the Police Power. It is given to us in the Constitution, all states have it by statute and it allows the states and the government to basically stop human beings from doing things that are going to harm another human being - like fireworks in a dry year."
A statement released by Governor Hickenlooper's office said, "In general our legal council agrees that we generally have that Police Power, but we take exercising it over the top of local control very seriously. This isn't an option we're considering now."
While the Executive Order signed by the Governor bans the private use of fireworks, it does not ban the sale. As Fourth of July approaches, fireworks stands have opened in unincorporated portions of counties that allow sales.
"Well, we've been open three days now and sales right now seem to be as usual if not up a little bit," Steve Deden, owner of Pop, Boom, Bang Fireworks said. They have operated a fireworks stand at the corner of Parker and Florida in unincorporated Arapahoe County for several years.
Deden says he understands the fire concerns in the state but doesn't believe the sale of fireworks should be banned.
"A few people are actually asking about the bans, but what we're telling them to do is go ahead and purchase your fireworks now and let's celebrate the Fourth of July on New Year's Eve when it is a little bit safer to light fireworks," says Deden.
King Soopers and Safeway grocery stores do not sell fireworks that omit a flame. Both sell party poppers and pops and snaps that do not have a fuse to light. Items the retailers say provides a "safe option."
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