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What fireworks are allowed in Iowa?

It falls on customers to know what fireworks they are allowed to take home with them, even if stores are more plentiful than ever.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — With only two weeks until Independence Day, the time to figure out what kind of fireworks you can legally buy and set off in Iowa is now.

According to West Des Moines Fire Marshal Mike Whitsell, that answer can vary greatly depending on where you live.

"The Iowa legislature this year actually passed a bill that the governor recently signed, where cities can no longer prohibit through zoning laws, the sale of fireworks within a city," Whitsell said. "So at this particular time, our cities across the state of Iowa can still dictate what fireworks can be shot off and what fireworks can't."

That bill, SF2285, also expanded the ability of firework sellers to set up shop in Iowa cities.

Local building operator for Jake's Fireworks, Kim Sandstoe, said that anything sold in a firework store meets state requirements, but cities and counties still have the final say.

With a new bill in place, it falls on customers to know what fireworks they are allowed to take home with them, even if firework stores are more plentiful than ever.

"We encourage them to check their city's websites or their county's website to find out what's allowed, or to call their city and find out what their rules are," Sandstoe said.

Just because everything in the store is legal, however, does not mean it's guaranteed to be safe. Whitsell cautions against using any type of firework without looking into proper use beforehand.

"Before you actually decide to purchase fireworks, check and see if they're even allowed to be used within the city limits that you live in," Whitsell said. "And if they are, then take a look at the safety aspects of how to use those."

If you're concerned about disturbing your neighbors or pets with noisy fireworks, some stores are offering choices that let you partake in the fun without the entire city hearing it.

"There's lots of options out there for everybody, from things that make a big boom, to things that don't make a lot of noise, to brilliant colors and things that aren't really explosive at all. So we've got lots of options for everybody," Sandstoe said. 

If you end up with fireworks that aren't permitted in your city, things can get tricky. Sandstoe said it's illegal to accept returned fireworks, so it's necessary to know your city's rules well before heading out to the store.

To learn more about which fireworks are allowed in your jurisdiction, check out official city and county websites.


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