Fireworks sales, more variety allowed in Iowa

Posted June 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

For the first time since the Jan. 1, 1938, more fireworks than just sparklers, snakes and caps can legally be purchased, sold and used in Iowa.

The new law was enacted May 10 with fireworks sales and use starting June 1. This caused public officials to scramble to make sure they had any local law changes in place — if they wanted some local control.

State Law Rules

This new law section, Iowa Code 272.2, does not prohibit:

• The sale by a resident, dealer, manufacture or jobber of such fireworks as are not prohibited by this section; or

• The sale of any kind of fireworks if they are to be shipped out of the state; or

• The sale or use of blank cartridges for a) a show or theater, or b) for signal purposes in athletic sports or by railroads or trucks; or c) by a recognized military organization.

It also does not apply to any substance or composition prepared and sold for medicinal or fumigation purposes.

Selling Fireworks

Consumer Fireworks

Sale Licensing

People wanting to sell Consumer Fireworks need to make application with the State Fire Marshal, who is in the process of adopting requirements for retailers and community groups to sell fireworks.

There are license fees, depending if it’s a permanent or temporary sale site, the type of fireworks and whether it’s a retailer or community group selling fireworks.

State Fire Marshal can revoke licenses for law violations and licensees violating law is guilty of a simple misdemeanor.

Licensees can file for judicial review of the revocation. New licenses shall not be issued for one year after revocation.

Consumer fireworks shall not be transferred to a person who is under 18 years of age.


Wholesalers will be required to register annually, pay registration fee and maintain insurance.

Dates of Sale

Permanent consumer fireworks sale site dates are between June 1 and July 8 and Dec. 10 and Jan. 3 annually.

Temporary sale site dates are between June 13 and July 8 annually.

New Revenues

Consumer Fireworks

Fee Fund

State Fire Marshall will create this fund to be used to fulfill the responsibilities of the marshal’s administration and enforcement of this law.

Grants Available

Sate Fire Marshal shall establish a Local Fire Protection & Emergency Medical Services Providers Grant Program for providers to establish or provide fireworks safety education programs and purchase equipment for necessary enforcement, protection and emergency response related to the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Iowa.

State’s Stance

Use of consumer fireworks or display fireworks in state parks and preserves is prohibited except as authorized by a permit issued by the department. There will be a fireworks permit system established for issuance of a limited number of permits to people for use or display fireworks in selected state parks and preserves.

Counties’ Stance

Supervisors may prohibit or limit the use of consumer fireworks or display fireworks if they determine the use is a threat to public safety or private property or if it would constitute a nuisance to neighboring landowners.

Supervisors may also grant permits for the use of display fireworks.

The Plymouth County Conservation Board unanimously approved to not allow fireworks in the county’s parks at their monthly meeting.

At the May 23 Plymouth County Supervisors’ meeting, supervisors didn’t take any official action, preferring to just follow the state law and the Plymouth County Conservation Board’s decision, Plymouth County Auditor Stacey Feldman told The Akron Hometowner.

To sell fireworks in Plymouth County, people will need to:

• Obtain a state permit from the State Fire Marshal;

• Apply for a Conditional Use Permit from Plymouth County Planning & Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken, whose office is only open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays in the Plymouth County Courthouse’s Annex. There is a $200 Conditional Use Permit application fee; and

• Have the Conditional Use Permit application approved by the Plymouth County Board of Adjustment.

According to Feldman, the county’s Board of Adjustment will meet soon to review the fireworks sales Conditional Use Permit applications.

Cities Stance

Cities may prohibit or limit the use of consumer fireworks, display fireworks or novelties within city limits.

Akron Ordinance

At their May 23 meeting, Akron councilors unanimously approved a Fireworks Ordinance.

After a first reading of the proposed ordinance, Councilor Alex Pick made the motion to waive the second and third readings. Councilor Gerry Stowers seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous, 4-0, with Councilor Jenell Lanning absent and Councilor Kasey Mitchell on his cell phone.

Then Councilor Denise Loutsch-Beitelspacher made a motion to approve the ordinance as it was presented and Pick seconded it. This vote was also unanimous, 4-0.

One concern was mentioned by a member of the audience — that Akron officials will allow people to begin setting off fireworks at 9 a.m. Although it was mentioned that early start time could interrupt the sleep of graveyard-shift workers and children taking naps, councilors didn’t make any changes to the proposed ordinance.

Westfield Decision

At their May 23 meeting, City Clerk Angela Sorensen told the council she had attended a Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) meeting earlier in the day regarding the new Fireworks Law.

The meeting attendees’ consensus was to just follow the state law for now and make city code changes later if needed.

Westfield councilors instructed Sorensen to send notices in residents’ utility bills.

Westfield residents can call Mayor Mike Tadlock for more information.

Types of Fireworks

There are three types of fireworks: consumer fireworks, display fireworks and novelties.

Consumer Fireworks – First Class

Aerial shell kits and reloadable tubes


Helicopter and aerial spinners


Mine and shell devices

Missile-type rockets

Roman candles

Sky rockets and bottle rockets

Multiple tube devices, manufactured in accordance with American Pryotechics Association Standard 87-1 (APA 87-1).

Consumer Fireworks – Second Class

“Cone fountains

Cylindrical fountains

Flitter sparkers

Ground spinners

Illuminating torches


Toy smoke devices and wire or dipped sparklers that aren’t classified as novelties pursuant to APA 87-1, Section 3.2.

Ground and hand-held sparkling devices, including multiple tube and hand-held sparkling devices manufactured in accordance with APA 87-1, Section 3.5.

Display Fireworks

Generally defined as “professional fireworks:” Any explosive composition, or combination of explosive substance, or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagraton or detonation, and includes fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound or other device containing any explosive substance. It does not include novelties or consumer fireworks in APA 87-1 Chapter 3.

A person, firm, partnership or corporation who offers for sale, exposes for sale, sells at retail or uses or explodes any display fireworks, commits a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $250. However, city council or county supervisors can grant a permit for display of display fireworks by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks and other organizations or groups of individuals when the display fireworks will be handled by a competent operator. No permits are required for display of display fireworks at Iowa State Fairgrounds by the Iowa State Fair Board, incorporated county fairs or district fairs receiving state aid. Sales of display fireworks for such display may be made for that purpose only.


Novelties include all novelties enumerated in APA 87-1 Chapter 3 that comply with the labeling regulations promulgated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Use of Fireworks

Using or Exploding Consumer Fireworks

Using or Exploding consumer fireworks shall only be between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. except on the following dates:

• Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 4 and the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following July 4.

• Between 9 a.m. Dec. 31 and 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1; and

• Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following Dec. 31.

Use Sites

A person shall not use consumer fireworks on real property other than their own or on a real property they have owners’ consent.

Use Suspension

The Fire Marshal can order suspension of the use of consumer fireworks, display fireworks or novelties if use constitutes a threat to pubic safety.

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