Speed Reads

accidents

Mom wants tougher fireworks laws after son sets off explosive on his head, dies

Days after her son was killed instantly after setting off a firework on top of his head, a Maine mother is calling for stricter laws on who can have access to the explosives.

Police say that on the 4th of July, Devon Staples, 22, was drinking with friends in the town of Calais when the accident happened with a mortar tube. In the wake of her son's death, Kathleen Staples wants to see lawmakers consider requiring safety training courses before letting someone use fireworks. "At least it'd be a little bit more than, 'Here you go,'" she told The Associated Press. "That's an explosive. They didn't just hand me a license and put me in the car."

Staples said she thinks her son might have thought the explosive was a "dud" that wouldn't hurt him, but State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said that since the mortar had already been used once before, he "can't imagine someone would anticipate that it was a dud." This was the first fireworks-related death to occur in Maine since they were legalized in 2012, and Rep. Michel Lajoie (D) said he is considering introducing a measure next year to repeal the law. Lajoie, a retired fire chief, said he can already hear the arguments from people opposing a ban. "They're going to say, 'Well, you can't regulate stupidity'...and it's true, you can't," he told AP. "But the fact of the matter is you have to try something. I'm not giving up."