Fireworks Spark Continued Controversy at Monday’s Des Moines City Council Meeting

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Des Moines leaders are evaluating their decision to allow fireworks in the city.

The issue was added to the city council meeting on Monday night, the first since the Fourth of July holiday. Des Moines is one of the few cities to not ban the use of fireworks after they were legalized by the state legislature, instead allowing them to be fired off during certain hours on the Fourth.

Des Moines police say between midnight on July 3rd and four a.m. on July 5th they responded to 441 fireworks calls; this is 21 more than last year. There were also more than a dozen victims of fireworks-related injuries that showed up at metro hospitals.

City leaders received a large number of calls and emails about fireworks even before the Fourth.

On Monday night, some residents got their chance to address the whole council in person.

"What we witnessed was minors being placed in a lot of danger, and because of ill-advised fireworks use we see property damage that happened in our house. If it hadn't been for my garden hose, this place wouldn't exist anymore and possibly not our place either," said Des Moines resident Dartanyan Brown, referring to an incident that took place at a neighbor's home.

Others also said the fireworks created problems for veterans dealing with PTSD and created anxiety for pets. While most of the speakers felt the city should ban them, there was also a voice of support for allowing fireworks.

"I served this country to be able to do things. Land of the free, home of the brave. Only as long as city council says so? And if my neighbor's pissed off then they can't do it either? I'm just, I'm very, very angry about this. I'm on the side of leave it alone, let the people shoot them. If they're doing it illegally, like Mr. Gatto said, it's illegal. Go to the people that are doing it illegally, not the people that are doing it responsibly and respectfully. "

City leaders did not take any action on fireworks at Monday's meeting. State law will allow fireworks sales again from December 10th to January 3rd.

West Des Moines leaders also met on Monday; discussion of fireworks was also expected during the public comments time at their meeting.