Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2003

City Council should reconsider fireworks ban

July 10, 2003

Anyone who attended the De Soto fireworks display Friday knows it wasn't the only show in town. Although far more impressive, it shared the skyline with numerous backyard displays.
De Soto residents without hearing disabilities didn't need the vantage point of the high school bleachers to know the city's fireworks ban was ignored on the Fourth of July. The ineffectiveness of the ban could perhaps be attributed to enforcement, but a massive and expensive presence by Johnson County Sheriff's officers would have been needed in De Soto to fairly enforce the ordinance.
With the widespread violation of the city ordinance, it would have been impossible for officers to cite an individual for shooting fireworks Friday evening without speaking over the noise of countless other violators.
A more realistic assumption would be that many De Soto residents just don't buy into the ban. Their active disobedience makes the ban as hopeless as enforcing prohibition in the 1920s.
Given that residents have so plainly demonstrated they neither want nor respect the ban, the City Council should reconsider the ordinance. Lifting the ban would perhaps spare the city possible liability from a fire that occurred after a resident complained of others violating the ban.
What makes that move difficult is the Johnson County ban on fireworks. But it would be hardly the only instance where De Soto was out of step with the rest of the county. The city should consider lifting the ban for July 4 only. This would be more restrictive than non-Johnson County jurisdictions and allow the city to get a handle on enforcement on days sheriff's officers have fewer demands on their time.

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