Fireworks Tyranny: Denver Police Department Style

By Steven Clyde

In the City and County of Denver, all types of fireworks are banned. You didn’t misread that: ALL TYPES.

Citizens are urged to pick up the phone and report any suspicious activity they see. Yes, they are urging your neighbors to have the government come kidnap you and steal your money for partaking in something we’ve all participated in at one point or another for generations.

Yet it doesn’t stop most people from doing it. There are still locations where you can buy fireworks (from places with permits which ill describe below), and people set them off on places from sidewalks, to parks, to you name it: the police drive around and bust hardly anybody. I can attest myself, because last year I bought a common pack of multiple fireworks and set them off on the sidewalk, while many officers drove by and did nothing. That’s how it should be, though technically I could’ve been fined or worse.

Coming from the east coast myself, setting off fireworks on the 4th of July was just a tradition. If there is at least one tradition that’s worthy of being celebrated, our unprecedented independence from the British tyranny of taxation and coercion from an oppressive King is of that nature. The fact that we (ironically ) took our independence for granted and set up an ever growing state with a constitution full of “implied powers” is something we talk about here all the time at Actual Anarchy. So we aren’t sucking up to state traditions, but we do believe in freedom.

And more simply put: watching things blow up in the sky is  awesome!

So what of the actual bans? You can read all the guidelines here.

We’ll start with the immediate irony: there are plenty of places where you can still buy fireworks in the surrounding areas; even ones still in Denver. Walmart not excluded.

The catch is, it’s not  illegal to buy fireworks from a licensed place, nor is it illegal to transfer them to your home (so long as you aren’t going to re-sell them). It’s not even illegal to set them off if you have paid your dues to the state! (see below) You just simply can’t set them off in Denver as a private individual! Weird right? It literally contradicts their own laws which they have in place.

You can read it from the website here or have a  look below:


This has led to a hilarious tirade on Facebook which you can watch here. The Denver Police Department put up a video (as they do most years around this time) of a fireworks bust they were partaking in! Why, how they were taking these “dangerous explosives” out of the delicate publics hands, as video footage shows them stacking up thousands of dollars worth of classic sets of fireworks we’re all used to seeing at many stores. There are places in the country where, they’d literally think this is satire at its finest.

These brave commenters had a field day too. How was the department supposed to react to such obvious rebuttals to their asinine laws? They couldn’t. And its no surprise; they cant bust people too heavily for smoking the stuff that gets you stoned anymore, so in turn they attempt to ban another thing that brings joy to normal people.

An Obvious Monopoly, And A New Form Of Taxation:

The more thoroughly I read through the laws, the more sense it makes. It’s purposely designed to be contradicting, to benefit a few people in power.

Those businesses with the funds to acquire permits not only to sell, but to set off fireworks, are in pretty good shape as people will rush to these few monopolized establishments to buy up fireworks. Otherwise, there would be a truly free market for fireworks in which any store could  sell them if they wanted to, or any individual could sell their own homemade fireworks so long as they built a reputation for safety and gained a customer base.

We don’t have that though. Instead, we buy $100 packs of fireworks that last 45 minutes because we think these must be the market prices for them, when they aren’t.

When put in perspective, its obvious why this bars people from entering the market. Have a look for yourself at what the permit costs are:

Furthermore, the fines for being caught setting off fireworks alone are tyrannical. This flyer (which again encourages citizens to rat out their neighbors) describe the hefty fines, and possible threat of kidnapping for setting off fireworks:

Stay safe this year if you’re in Denver!

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