State Cannot Regulate WA Native American Firework Stands, Court Rules
Often times you will hear people comment about getting their impressive 4th of July fireworks from the "reservation." They're referring to the Native American firework stands operated on Federally protected Indian Reservations not subject to the same laws as regular operations. It's no secret bigger fireworks are available at these venues -- and a much larger variety.
Now an important court ruling has been handed down, which appears to strengthen this long standing tradition of tribes generating revenue by selling fireworks.
Thursday, the U.S. District Federal Court for Eastern Washington handed down a ruling that basically says Klickitat County, "May not enforce Washington state's fireworks laws against Yakama members on the Yakama Reservation..."
The ruling was the outcome of a case that was filed after Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer issued cease and desist notices against licensed Yakama Tribal firework stands in the county in 2018. In layman's terms, the Sheriff told the tribe: "Shut down and close up the stands... they're illegal."
The release issued by the Yakama Nation says the court ruling shows the cease and desist notices were unlawful. And now they have a Federal court ruling to prove it.
But the legal ramifications of this ruling go far beyond Klickitat County. There's been a lot of pressure over the last few years from special interest groups in limiting -- even banning -- fireworks in many counties and cities due to fire dangers.
This ruling serves to set legal precedence. In other words, if another county tries to shut down legally-operated Native American firework stands, there's already a court verdict on the books in favor of the tribe. Such rulings will make other counties far less likely to try to do what Klickitat did, and shut down the Native American stands.
That doesn't mean you can fire off boomers in your community if they're illegal, and many areas don't allow these more-powerful items. But it does preserve the Native Americans right to generate revenue by selling them.