Oklahoma Bill to Ban Novelty Lighters Goes Down in Flames

March 11, 2009

Oklahoma Sen. Clark Jolley has misfired on his bill to ban novelty cigarette lighters, including those shaped like a gun.

Jolley, a conservative Republican from Edmond, drew bipartisan opposition in the Oklahoma Senate for his proposal to ban the sale of lighters that look like toys.

It was a case of too much government for some of his GOP colleagues – and Democrats, too.

“Are the toy police going to come to my house and confiscate these things?” asked Sen. Joe Sweeden, D-Pawhuska.

Jolley said the bill had the support of fire officials who believe toy lighters are conducive to kids setting fires, but he had no statistics.

Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said the bill would not stop such items from being bought online and would only hurt Oklahoma retailers.

Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said government can’t control everything and should leave parents to handle such matters.

“This is something that needs to die today so we can be taken seriously here,” Russell said.

The bill was defeated, 40-7, in the 48-member Senate, which has 26 Republicans and 22 Democrats.

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