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4th of July Fireworks Warning: They Could Cost You

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -

IT'S ILLEGAL TO SELL OR SHOOT OFF FIREWORKS IN IOWA.

 

BUT AS WE GET CLOSER TO JULY FOURTH IT SEEMS THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE IGNORING THE LAW.

               

No matter where you go, people have varying opinions on the merits of the law

 

"I just feel since they're illegal, we shouldn't be using them," resident Josh Carter said.

 

"I think they should be legal, I don't understand why they have to be illegal," resident Danielle Paulsen said

 

State lawmakers also see danger in the larger fireworks, which is why there are laws to keep them out of your hands, says Sgt. Cristy Hamblin with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

 

"With the illegal fireworks, whether it's a city or state charge, both of them are going to be court appearance required," Hamblin said.

 

The numbers from Cedar Rapids Police show that in 2012, between June 15th and July 6th, there were 92 calls for fireworks. Only one person was cited

 

Sgt. Hamblin admits it's an offense that doesn't usually take high priority over other crimes.

 

With the wet weather so far this year easing fire concerns, the priority drops even lower.

 

In addition, the law is not the easiest to enforce.

 

"We can charge them with a possession, but to actually shooting the fireworks off the officer has to see them," Hamblin said.

 

It leads some to wonder if the laws are enough.

 

"I think the laws are good, I think they just need to enforce them a little harsher," Carter said.

 

Others wonder if the laws are making a difference at all.

 

"People are still gonna do it, just like there's a lot of things people still choose to do," Paulsen said.

 

Hamblin says at the end of the day, it's less about fines and laws - it's about maintaining public safety...something everyone can agree with.

 

"People just need to be responsible, be safe and have a good time," Carter said.

 

State code says that you can be fined as much as $250 for using fireworks.

 

On the local level, it's up to a judge to set the fine. 

 
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