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Our View: Remember to use fireworks safely

This weekend, fireworks stands will be busy with people stocking up for celebrations on the Fourth of July.

Actually, in many stores you can find certain types of fireworks on the shelves nearly year-round.

The loosening of fireworks laws in Minnesota a couple of years ago has helped remind many people of the Independence Days they enjoyed as children.

It used to be that Minnesotans would have to drive to Wisconsin to buy their fireworks, and then hope they could sneak back into the state without getting pulled over by police. Then they still had to worry about whether or not their neighbors would call and turn them in at the first sight of a bottle rocket.

Now things have changed. In the days leading up to July 4, you can hear the familiar snapping of firecrackers and see rockets glaring on an almost daily basis. Fewer people report their neighbors if they have some of the fireworks that are still illegal because they don't know which ones aren't supposed to be allowed anymore.

No matter what kind of fireworks you plan to use, the most important thing to remember is that it only takes an instant to cause a tragedy. Make sure to heed the warning labels, and don't let young children handle fireworks, even sparklers.

Using a few fireworks in a safe manner can help celebrate our independence, but doing so negligently could leave a lasting memory of the holiday that isn't so easy to forget.