Columbia Council outlaws possession of fireworks

Oct 2, 2012

It’s now against the law to possess fireworks within the city of Columbia. City Council members voted Monday night to amend the city code, making it easier for police to enforce fireworks restrictions. Owner of Bob’s Fireworks, Bob Gereau says the change could hurt his business since many of his customers live in Columbia.

“Can the police arrest those people under this ordinance? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not. But then there’s always that thought, ‘maybe I can get arrested.’ Will it ruin my business? Yeah, I guess it will ruin part of the business,” Gereau said.

It’s already against the law to manufacture, store, sell or set off fireworks within the city. East Campus resident Sarah Smith says she’s tired of fireworks waking her up late at night, and she says the ordinance will give police more control over noisy situations.

“It’s very frustrating because I feel like they don’t have enough tools in their toolbelt to help us. It really affects our quality of life to have fireworks go off as often as they do. I think this ordinance would give them another tool to help them be able to make some arrests, and at least have some effect on students who think that it’s totally okay to get intoxicated and set off fireworks at night,” Smith said.

The City Council did agree on one exception: It’s okay to use sparklers without worrying about getting into trouble with the law.