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O’Fallon proposes additional amendments to fireworks regulations

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, O’Fallon staff have proposed amendments to the city’s fireworks regulations.

The amendments [represented in Bill 7198] are meant to provide additional clarity and not alter prior legislative intent. Council members Dave Hinman [Ward 1] and Dr. Jim Ottomeyer [Ward 4] sponsored the bill for its first reading at the June 11 City Council meeting.

The amendments are as follows:

1. Persons under the age of 16 would not be permitted to set off, use, burn, explode or fire off any firecrackers, fireworks, etc., unless they are in the presence of a supervising adult 21 years or older.

O’Fallon Communications Director Tom Drabelle explained, “This actually is what the law currently says. The only change is the removal of the word ‘possess.’  This is due to the fact that it is legal to purchase fireworks from June 20 through July 6. We had accidentally created a situation where someone could buy them legally outside of July 3 and July 4, but couldn’t possess them legally during that time. That was never the intent. The intent was they could not discharge them during that time. This clarifies the language.”

2. Fireworks displays still would not be permitted after 10 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or after 11 p.m. on a Friday, or Saturday, or July 3, or July 4. 

The wording was cleaned-up to avoid confusion for time limits on Friday and Saturday.

3. Manufacture or wholesaling of fireworks within the city limits still would not be permitted without first obtaining all state, county, municipal and fire authority permits, and complying with all pertinent registration, safety and other governmental regulations. 

Original wording indicating a restrictive date range of June 15 to July 6 would be removed. Wording related to limits on the storage of fireworks also would be removed.

Drabelle explained, “The original wording had essentially banned the potential of a wholesale distributor or a manufacturer from ever opening in O’Fallon due to the date range. That was not the intent. Those businesses have always been allowed in O’Fallon and would be again under this clarification. Now, it’s not an issue as we don’t have any at this time. But, they would be welcome provided they have all the proper permits.”

4. Retail selling or distributing of fireworks still would be prohibited prior to June 20 and after July 6. Wholesaling would not be subject to those date restrictions.

If the normal process is followed, a second reading and vote for passage on this bill will be at the council meeting on June 25.

On Sept. 12, 2019, the O’Fallon City Council approved regulations [Bill No. 7119.1] for the sale and amateur use of fireworks, replacing the previous outright ban on the sale and use of non-professional fireworks in the city. On March 26, 2020, the city council approved refinements to those regulations [Bill No. 7170 and No. 7181].  Mid Rivers Newsmagazine published detailed stories about those bills on Sept. 19, 2019, and March 27, 2020.

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