The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Iowa should once again ban the sale of fireworks to individuals

We need to ban the sale of fireworks to individuals due to the physical and emotional harm they cause to many Iowans.
Grace Smith
Attendees observe fireworks shoot off after the 2022 Iowa City Jazz Festival on Saturday, July 2, 2022. Thousands of people piled onto the Pentacrest lawn to observe the show.

Every year, eruptions of freedom are shot into the sky at the private homes of many Iowans.

While fireworks are an exciting tradition for holidays such as the Fourth of July and New Year’s, they can trigger those with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as frighten pets, children, and the elderly. Fireworks can also cause gruesome injuries if used improperly.

The explosives are seen as a staple of holiday celebrations but have the potential to cause too much harm for personal use to be allowed. Iowa should ban the sale of fireworks to individuals and only allow public officials to use fireworks, reversing the 2017 law that allowed the private sale of fireworks in Iowa.

Firework shows are often conducted by licensed professionals with fire crews nearby to help if any accidents were to happen. When private citizens obtain fireworks, they are often untrained and do not have safeguards in case of emergencies.

A study from the University of Iowa Department of Public Health revealed a 12 percent increase in ER visits since allowing the sale of fireworks. Many patients were left with burns, lost limbs, or even died due to firework accidents, showing that momentary fun can lead to life-altering injuries.

Fireworks can also cause and trigger psychological damage. Many veterans in our country unfortunately suffer from PTSD from their service. Fireworks can mimic the sounds of the battlefield and cause emotional stress to those affected by PTSD.

While cities and businesses announce the time and location of their firework shows, private individuals rarely announce when and how long they will shoot fireworks, increasing the potential to inflict stress on those with PTSD.

It is also extremely difficult to escape the sound of fireworks; though only two minutes at 110 decibels is enough to damage one’s hearing ­— as loud as 160 decibels. The quick thrill of fireworks is also a slap in the face to those who have served our country and to others with PTSD, as well as those with sensitivity to loud noises.

Many argue fireworks are a personal freedom used to celebrate holidays, but the stress and potential damage outweigh the personal freedom of the individual.

Banning fireworks from individual sale but allowing the explosives for cities and businesses with permits is a fair trade off. This way, people will still be able to enjoy fireworks but in a safe, pre-planned environment.

While fireworks are a fun way to celebrate the Fourth of July or New Year’s, private individuals owning and using them pose a steep risk. A ban on individual sale would help prevent the possibility of injuries and ease the stress of young children, pets, and those with PTSD. It is time we retract the law allowing the private sale of fireworks in Iowa.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributors
Caden Bell
Caden Bell, Opinions Columnist
Caden Bell is a third year transfer student student at The University of Iowa majoring in Ethics and Public Policy. This is his first year at the The Daily Iowan.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.