Should the use of fireworks be allowed within city limits?

Published 3:08 pm Friday, January 3, 2020

It’s time for the city of Vicksburg to do something about the personal use of fireworks within the city limits. There, I said it.

There are moments when you know you’re going to catch heck for something you write long before it ever finds its way in print or online. This is one of those moments.

Let me preface all of what I am about to write to say that I survived my share of bottle rocket wars, on many occasions violated the safety guidelines of discharging fireworks and might have set off firecrackers beneath a person’s bedroom in the middle of the night just for the pure enjoyment of it. On that last one, the statute of limitations has yet to expire so I will admit nothing.

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But, when it comes to real life, safety and security must be weighed against the enjoyment of launching mortars and festive fireworks into the night.

For those who have even passingly read The Post in recent months, there is rarely a day that goes by that the police are not dispatched somewhere in our city for a report of shots fired. More times than not, though, those reports go without evidence, suspects or arrest, but officers still go and investigate.

Ahead of the New Years’ holiday, I asked police officials about the use of personal fireworks within the city limits and its legality. It’s legal. But you could tell there was a hint of hesitation and a sense of impending dread.

They knew the coming days would be filled with one report after the next of either shots fired or noise complaints. And the reports this year were a third higher than the previous year.

On social media, residents were nearly chaotic in their positions about someone shooting guns in their neighborhood that eventually proved to be fireworks. The panic they felt was real to them, regardless of whether their fear was justified.

I know. I am probably one step away from yelling at children to get off my lawn, but a moratorium on the private use of fireworks within the city limits is something that should be considered by city leaders.

It should be considered for no other reason than to save time and money by our police department from chasing down something that eventually proves to be a firecracker being set off. They have more important things to worry about, more important problems to solve.

Is a moratorium something Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour will consider? I don’t know, but it would be wise for them to at least discuss it with police leadership.

If those who are patrolling our streets and protecting our community don’t feel it is a problem, feeling like a halt — if only temporary — to the use of private fireworks is not needed, then I will step back. They are the experts.

The question should be asked and the discussion should be had.

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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