City Ordinance Aims to Reduce Misuse of Fireworks
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police told KOMU 8 News Friday they believe a new city ordinance will reduce use of fireworks in the city by residents.
The city council passed an ordiance last October banning the possession of fireworks, making this the first Fourth of July season with the new regulation. Repeated violations on East Campus prompted the new ordinance.
In previous years, the police department experienced difficulty enforcing fireworks regulations because the ordinance required officers to prove a person actually discharged the firework.
"I definitely think it will be beneficial." Public Information Officer Latisha Stroer said. "I mean versus discharging you had to prove the person actually discharged the fireworks and now it's just possession of the fireworks. And so I think definitely it will help."
A person could be subject to a violation whether or not he or she knew about the ordinance. East Campus resident and MU student Kyle Leibovitz said he was unaware of the ordinance and had planned on buying fireworks this weekend.
Leibovitz said he supports the ordinance because of fireworks use late at night, usually around 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
"Last Tuesday I had a test on Wednesday, and someone at like one in the morning started shooting a bunch of the shrieking ones that make a bunch of noise for no reason for about 20 minutes," Leibovitz said. "It definitely wakes me up sometimes."
East Campus resident Don Love spoke in favor of the ordinance at the city council meeting last October. Love said at the time fireworks had created a major problem in the area over the years and needed some sort of restraint.
Since the ordinance passed last October, Love said he hasn't experienced as many problems.
Bob's Fireworks owner Bob Gerau opposes the ordinance and said he would like the city to restrict it to student areas.
"I think they need to go back and take a look at it," Gerau said. "My big word is ‘overkill.'"