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Our view of legalized fireworks in Iowa is mixed. We understand both sides of this discussion.

We acknowledge majority support among Iowans for legalized fireworks and appreciate the economic benefits of capturing part of a business Iowa used to lose to border states (including Nebraska and South Dakota) each year, but we understand the position of firefighters, emergency services providers and health care providers who want to prohibit them for safety reasons.

And we sympathize with residents who don't want related noise, or worse, in their neighborhood.

As a result, we weren't strong advocates for legalizing fireworks in our state, but we weren't opponents, either. Frankly, we would have been OK with either outcome.

The same holds true for us on discharge of fireworks within the city of Sioux City.

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2019 Saturday in the Park
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2019 Saturday in the Park
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2019 Saturday in the Park
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2019 Saturday in the Park
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2019 Saturday in the Park

After the first year of legalized fireworks in 2017, we were among those who urged the City Council to significantly shorten the window of days during which residents could shoot off fireworks for July 4, and the council did. Beginning in 2018, legal discharge of fireworks in Sioux City could only happen between 1 and 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4.

In addition to supporting a smaller window of time for discharge, we suggested police beef up enforcement of the local ordinance.

Looking ahead to next year, we do so again today.

No one possesses a constitutional right to discharge fireworks. It's a privilege with rules, approved by the City Council. Those rules include specific dates and times when discharge of fireworks is legal within Sioux City. Anyone with ears knows many residents ignore the rules. The noise begins before the 3rd, continues after the 4th, and extends later than 11 p.m.

Our suggestion? No tolerance for those who break the rules. If police officers witness or find evidence of fireworks discharge outside the allowed days and times, issue the offender a citation. No warnings. Make the fine bite a little, too.

We aren't suggesting our local police department go overboard in assigning manpower to this nuisance when officers have more important work to deal with on their shifts, but we do urge issuance of more citations if and when it's possible, understanding identification of offenders can be difficult.

A citation sends the proper message.

Of course, individual citizens must exercise greater personal responsibility, too. In addition to discharging fireworks only during the time frame allowed by the local ordinance, residents should communicate with and extend courtesy to neighbors, practice safety, not discharge fireworks on public property and clean up after themselves.

As a community, we can and should do better next time.

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