Salo: New Iowa fireworks law is just OK


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

Fireworks go off during the Mass Campaniling event on Central Campus to celebrate homecoming week.

Megan Salo

Rules and laws are usually set after something happens that could have been avoided if there were regulations in place.

We wear seat belts in cars because we learned it’s safer than not, we don’t drink and drive because we learned drinking impairs our judgement, we don’t smoke inside because we learned it can cause cancer even through secondhand smoke. 

In the 1984 film, “Footloose,” the town on Bomont has made dancing illegal because some teenagers of the town died in a car accident after a night of drinking and dancing. So, something happened that scared the town which led them to enforce a law. 

Dancing in Bomont is equivalent to fireworks in Iowa.

On June 27, 1931, a fire caused by a sparkler being dropped into a drugstore fireworks display devastated Spencer, Iowa, scorching nearly 100 buildings in the town. On July 4, 1936 a fire in Remsen, which was also started by a sparkler, destroyed 20 businesses and left 100 people homeless. After these fires, fireworks became illegal in Iowa.

Until this year, Iowa residents were not allowed to legally sell or buy fireworks or set them off in the state. 

Of course, just like the teenagers in Bomont, Iowa residents had found ways around the laws, going to neighboring states to buy the fireworks and set them off secretly back home.

But, this year, fireworks are legal to buy in Iowa from June 1 to July 8 and from Dec. 10 to Jan. 3 at any of the 274 licensed locations in Iowa. 

Although Iowans are now allowed to purchase these fireworks with this new law, individual towns and cities have the right to keep the ban on setting them off, with consequences of up to $625 in fines.

Ames is one of these cities in which firing off fireworks without a permit could cost you, according to the City of Ames website. 

I agree that individual governments should have the right to control their own cities, but I think that more towns should allow the use of fireworks. 

The Des Moines Register explained where and when you can set off your legally purchased fireworks:

  • Des Moines: Only on July 4 from 4 to 10 p.m.   
  • West Des Moines: Same as Des Moines.
  • Ankeny: Only on July 4 from 9 a.m to 11 p.m.
  • Waukee:  From June 30 to July 8 between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. On July 4, hours extend to 11 p.m. Fireworks can be shot again for 30 minutes starting at midnight on New Year’s Day.
  • Pleasant Hill: Between noon and 11 p.m. July 4 and again from noon Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1. 
  • Grimes: In accordance with state law. 

Although Iowa is starting to get away from the outdated laws of the past by allowing the sale of fireworks, we should join the sixteen states that already allow the use of fireworks as well. 

As long as Iowans are safe and sober while using these fireworks, they should have the freedom to celebrate America’s freedom however they wish.