New York Mayor Fears Legalizing Sparklers Will Lead to Terrorism

| by Amanda Schallert
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A failed bombing attempt and a fear of terrorism led New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to call for the veto of a recently passed bill that would allow the sale of small fireworks and sparklers in counties outside New York City. 

Bloomberg opposes the bill, which the state legislature passed last week, because he views even petty actions as measures that could potentially lead to terrorist activities, according to Newser.

Bloomberg is also a proponent of harsher police tactics and has been recently accused of “fear mongering” by Democrats, according to U.S. Reuters.

The mayor cited the failure of a man to bomb Times Square in 2010 as proof that people can and will take advantage of the substances contained in the fireworks that may seem harmless, according to the New York Post. 

Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, legally purchased fireworks from a Pennsylvania store and ultimately transported them to New York City, aiming to kill people in the busy area.

"While this bill excludes New York City, legalizing these devices everywhere else in the state would, as a practical matter, have the same effect in the five boroughs," wrote Bloomberg’s state legislative director in a memo. "A recent attempt to harm innocent lives provides a frightening example of how legally purchased ... fireworks can cause dramatic harm and even kill."

But the fireworks Shahzad used were made with gunpowder, a substance not found in the sparklers Bloomberg hopes to ban.

The bill contains some safeguards against the wrongful use of the products it authorizes, including a provision forcing companies selling fireworks to be licensed by the state and a limit on the time companies can sell fireworks.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a similar bill allowing the sale of fireworks in New York outside of New York City in late September in 2011.

Sources: Newser, New York Post, Reuters, New York Times