Fired up: fireworks law change elicits mixed reaction locally

The legalization of consumer fireworks in Iowa has been a long time coming, and with Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s signing of Senate File 489 last week, the days of driving across state lines to obtain them may finally be a thing of the past. Although local governmental agencies now have the authority to restrict fireworks usage further than what state law allows, only one of the five most populous communities in Grundy County has indicated any interest in doing so thus far.


“We’re relatively lucky. We’re usually kind of lenient around the Fourth of July with letting people shoot them and stuff,” Grundy County Sheriff Rick Penning said. “Fireworks have not been a big issue.”


The law allows residents (an age requirement is not specified) to purchase and possess “first and second-class consumer fireworks”—which include aerial shell kits and reloadable tubes, chasers, helicopter and aerial spinners, firecrackers, mine and shell devices, missile-type rockets, Roman candles, sky rockets and bottle rockets, multiple tube devices, cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground and handheld sparkling devices, ground spinners, illuminating torches, toy smoke devices, wheels, and wire or dipped sparklers—between June 1 and July 8, and again between December 10 and January 3.


Wellsburg City Clerk Wendy Lage told The Grundy Register that the council there is considering prohibiting the use of consumer fireworks within city limits, but a final decision has not been made. The community holds an annual fireworks show during its Wellsburg Daze celebration each June, and that event would continue as previously scheduled.


“At this point, I think (council members) want to restrict them in town, but we don’t know what that will look like yet,” Lage said.


City officials in Grundy Center, Reinbeck, Dike and Conrad have not discussed any regulations beyond the state law.


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