DES MOINES, Iowa — With only a few days until Independence Day, it's a beautiful time to go shopping for fireworks. But before you load up your cart, you're going to want to check with your city's ordinance as rules change from city to city
"It's a challenge for people in Iowa to sometimes understand that," said Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. "Yeah, the state says it's legal to buy and possess fireworks. But municipalities like Des Moines say it's against city ordinance to lay them off."
Parizek said enforcing fireworks regulation isn't an easy feat.
That perspective is shared by Urbandale City Manager A.J. Johnson, who said he's pleading for the city to comply with Urbandale's ordinance, which doesn't permit fireworks of any kind to be shot off by residents.
"We have a zero tolerance [policy]," Johnson said. "And as you can imagine, that's the problem. It's relatively hard to enforce."
According to the Carlisle Police Department, the city's ordinance doesn't allow any fireworks to be used outside of the July 1-4 timeframe. The fine for breaking this rule is $100 plus associated court costs.
Ankeny only permits the use of first and second class consumer fireworks from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4. Using fireworks of any other kind or at any other time can result in a fine of up to $250, according to the city code.
The city of Clive also doesn't allow the use of many fireworks. Chief Rick Roe with the Clive Fire Department says in his city, you can legally buy fireworks that you can't legally use.
"This year, the state of Iowa legislature took away a local city's ability to safely control where fireworks can be sold," Roe said. "So now they can be sold anywhere. So it's just something that we have to work with."
If you want to avoid a big bang to your pocketbooks, avoid fireworks that aren't allowed by your city's ordinances, as fines can reach up to $500.