The Columbia City Council is considering a ban on possessing fireworks within the city limits.
The proposed law would make possession of fireworks a misdemeanor. The existing law prohibits the sale, manufacture and use of fireworks inside the city.
Columbia Police Sergeant Jill Schlude says existing laws restrict officers’ ability to respond to complaints. Shooting usually stops before they arrive.
“It just became a real issue – that enforcement was close to impossible based on the current language,” Schlude says.
Bob Gerau owns Bob’s Fireworks, a year-round retailer based in southeast Columbia.
He says the language of the law is troubling, and could confuse potential customers who plan to shoot fireworks legally outside the city.
“They buy some fireworks because they’re going to go down to the lake, where they can shoot them," Gerau says. "It’s not going to be against the law to have them in their house, when they’re not going to do anything illegal with them?”
The ban was introduced at last week's meeting, and the City Council is scheduled to vote on the bill October 1.