Mayor Corbett: Window Too Wide for Fireworks Sales

Jul 14, 2017

Officials in Cedar Rapids are evaluating Iowa’s new fireworks law that debuted in the just-completed 4th of July season, after many residents weighed in against it.  

“Out of Cedar Rapids we've had more complaints on fireworks than we had on potholes or even on the speed cameras combined,” said Mayor Ron Corbett.  “That's how many people complained about the fireworks.”

We had more complaints on fireworks than on potholes and speed cameras combined. -Mayor Ron Corbett

Cedar Rapids opted to allow the use of fireworks in city limits for the entire window of time that fireworks could be sold.    Some argued that as long as they were being sold, they were likely going to be set off. 

That means starting June 1, residents were buying fireworks, and not waiting till the holiday to use them.

“Having this wide-open sales window, people are buying fireworks, they're going to buy them for a reason to light them, and set them off, even if they're not aware of a local city ordinance,” Corbett said.

Corbett recommends changing state law to narrow the window for sales.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett
Credit Dean Borg/IPR

“Now that we have one year under our belt, it probably makes sense to look at the sales window and not have the tents up for four weeks,” Corbett said. 

In May the Cedar Rapids City Council voted 5 to 2 to allow the use of fireworks for the entire period they were being sold.  

Corbett at the time did not rule out recommending a more restrictive ordinance depending on how many people ended up shooting off fireworks starting June 1.