MINNEAPOLIS – Any American flags bought in Minnesota for this July 4th will be made in the USA — thanks to a state law that went into effect this year after some lawmakers said it was un-American to have the country's flag made overseas.
"Real patriotism also includes valuing the work of American workers," said Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, a co-sponsor of the flag law. "I think that's just as patriotic as displaying the flag."
The law requires all flags sold in the state to be made in the USA, and would hit violators with up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
Some retailers haven't noticed a big difference.
"We've only sold American-made flags for years, and we've never had problems with sales," said American Flagpole & Flag owner Matt Knowlan. "The flag is the symbol of the United States, and it's how Americans show pride."
But not everyone is a fan.
Imad Ardah, co-owner of Alamo Flags in the Mall of America, said he thinks fewer people will be flying American flags.
"Too many people cannot afford the flags made in the USA," Ardah said. "One of my American flags that costs $39 used to cost just $19. That's double the price!"
Ardah, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Jordan in 1991, said the foreign-made flags and the American-made ones are of similar quality.
Ardah said his store hasn't seen a big drop in the sale of American flags, and he still sells a few hundred per month. He said that before he switched to American-made flags, about 10 percent of his customers refused to buy the imported flags.
"For a lot of people, it's very meaningful to have their flags made in the USA," Ardah said. "There's nothing wrong with that. But give them a choice."
Lidya Johnson, a 39-year-old Bloomington native, said the higher prices were going to hamper her July 4th celebration.
"I'm going to have to buy smaller flags, even though I'm spending the same amount," she said. "The government has no business telling me what I can and can't buy."
Ray Gummer, a projects manager at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapels, said the American-made flags have huge meaning for clients, especially veterans.
"When we do floral displays, we only use American-made because it's what they fought for," Gummer said. "I don't really care where the flags from other countries are made, but American flags should be American-made."