Letter: Sale of fireworks good for economy

I applaud The Gazette for their editorial encouraging the Iowa Senate to pass the proposed consumer fireworks bill (“It’s time to loosen Iowa’s fireworks ban,” Feb. 11).

I am a principal in a seasonal outlet in another state which I acquired years ago in anticipation of this change in Iowa law.

Iowans spend an estimated $25 million each year on consumer fireworks, all of it bought in other states. This figure will at least double and maybe triple the first year they are legalized in Iowa. Considering the state of our economy it is imperative this money stays in Iowa.

Safety appears to be a major concern. Every wholesaler and most retailers are ardent supporters of the safe use of fireworks. I pass out written safety guidelines with every purchase and schedule regular demonstrations of my product that show safe and proper usage. If the law passes, my intentions are to secure retail space outside of the city limits. It’s important to be considerate of neighbors.

Changes were made in Iowa law because of fires in the 1930s purportedly started by sparklers which were never part of the law to ban. Over 60 percent of all firework injuries reported to hospitals are caused by sparklers mainly due to the inner wire reaching temps as high as 1,200 degrees. Sparklers are the only firework I refuse to sell. They are dangerous by nature because this is the only firework meant to be held by hand.

It is rare to regain a freedom that was taken away by law. This bill will pass if senators are serious about budget constraints.

Joe Zalesky

Cedar Rapids

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