Friday, December 9, 2022

Fargo City Commissioner pushes to legalize fireworks

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – The dust may have settled on this year’s Fourth of July, but there’s still smoke in the air over Fargo.

A city commissioner is pushing to make fireworks legal.

Tony Gehrig says he has been proposing to legalize fireworks since 2017.

He says prohibition is just simply not working.

He adds the mess left behind at Scheels Arena is an example of the policy’s ineffectiveness.

Gehrig argues the law is not being strictly enforced.

Fargo Police are reporting 182 fireworks-related calls since June 27th.

They responded to every single one, but didn’t issue a single citation.

He says that’s putting a strain on police and fire resources that could be used elsewhere.

Gehrig also argues if fireworks are legalized people won’t shy away from calling the authorities if something goes wrong.

“We know people want to do it. People are doing it. The community is telling us what they want by doing what they want,” he said. “It’s costing a lot more to enforce a law that isn’t enforceable. it’s taking away from officers from what they should be doing. There’s a large pull on the fire department as well because people aren’t reporting incidents when they happen because they are afraid to get arrested or fined.”

Gehrig says the law states you cannot get arrested for the illegal use of fireworks.

Over in West Fargo, fireworks are legal to possess and use.

City commissioner Eric Gjerdevig believes, the policy in its current form is working, but feels it wouldn’t hurt to re-evaluate the policy in the future.

“I do think when you have a policy like that, it’s not only bout somebody’s comfort in their homes, in terms of not hearing the noise, it’s also a safety concern in the community,” he said. “I think it’s worth revisiting periodically to make sure that the current commission has the same beliefs in supporting that policy.”

In West Fargo, there were 35 fireworks complaints between 6 p.m. on July 3rd and 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

There were also five fire calls related to fireworks in West Fargo compared to in Fargo there were a dozen.

Copyright 2021 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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