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City revives fireworks ban

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Recent incidents with police officers and one city councilman result in a complete ban of some fireworks.

Murfreesboro City Council will consider shortening the fireworks selling season and banning reloadable mortar shells Thursday night.

“Fireworks will still be legal to sell and use in the city limits of Murfreesboro,” Councilman David Edwards said. “The only one we are addressing is mortars.”

Should the ordinance pass the council, the fireworks selling season will be reduced by one day – going from June 27- July 5 and Dec. 25-Jan. 2 to June 28-July 5 and Dec. 26-Jan.2 – and the sell and possession of mortar shells will be banned outright.

Edwards said the way the law is written buying mortar shells outside of town and bringing them here would be illegal, because possession of mortars is also banned along with selling the shells.

“It’s like so many other things, the inappropriate choices of a few restricting the fun of others,” Edwards said.

Edwards has first hand knowledge of inappropriate choices concerning fireworks, he was hit by one on the Fourth of July this year when he was accompanying a MPD officer on rounds.

As Edwards sat in a police cruiser, a mortar shell was fired from between two houses, hit the ground near the car, bounced up and debris from the firework singed hair on his arm and leg.

“It apparently, from what officers told me later, hit the ground right under the door, went under the car, ricocheted and bounced up into the air about 5 to 10 feet from the squad car,” Edwards recalled at the time.

Edwards also cited recent incidents with a police officer in Columbia this summer and another involving two Murfreesboro Police Officers last summer.

The Murfreesboro incident led Police Chief Glenn Chrisman to request a ban on virtually all fireworks in May. The council decided to take a closer look at the issue at the time and declined making a decision.

Edwards said it was these incidents and not the recent fire at Fireworks Supermarket that prompted the proposed ban on mortar shells.

Public Hearings

- For a proposed amendment to the Planned Signage (PS) Overlay District for approximately 100 acres located along Medical Center Parkway. View map.

- For a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding Planned Developments and GDO Districts; Planning Staff, applicant. Notice of said public hearing was published in the October 4, 2008 issue of a local newspaper.

- For a zoning request for approximately 5.49 acres along Avenue Way to be rezoned from CH to PCD; Omni Hospitality, LLC, applicant. View map.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.

Read more from:
Business, City Council, Codes Department, Fireworks, MPD, Murfreesboro
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Members Opinions:
October 22, 2008 at 12:00am
Once again, here's my opinion of the fireworks ban proposition, as well as the inaccurate use of the term "mortar shells", originally posted in July. By: AmeliaB on 7/10/08
The use of the term "mortar rounds" is misleading. While some fireworks are made in a "mortar" style, "mortar rounds", as they are generally known, are weapons used by the MILITARY. So, there's no need to be, shall we say, inflammatory here.
The punks who deliberately aimed the fireworks at the police officers should absolutely be prosecuted. It should be noted, however, that they probably were not innocent babes who were led astray by the evils of gunpowder, but were actually people who would have found trouble with or without fireworks. The commonsense, law-abiding people on my street use fireworks in a responsible manner. I certainly hope our city council does not plan to attempt to restrict my personal liberties because other people have misused theirs. How ironic it is, that the very holiday on which we celebrate our nation's birth and our freedom, has become a point of contention for those who wish to restrict freedoms, however small those freedoms may seem! On another note, it is regrettable that Councilman Edwards suffered injuries due to fireworks. However, riding down the street at night...on July 4th...when fireworks were obviously in use...with the windows down...was probably not the best thing to do.
October 22, 2008 at 12:00am
This will be very hard to police. Why did they not just go all the way and ban all fireworks with the exception of those done under contolled situations.
October 22, 2008 at 12:00am
Poor Edwards....burned his little arm and now he has to try to ruin things for everyone. Did you need something to put on your resume or something Councilman?

I'll remember your name the next time I happen to see it when I am voting.
October 23, 2008 at 12:00am
I'm with AmeliaB. My parents taught me how to shoot fireworks off in a very responsible manner and NO ONE who ever shot fireworks off with us was every hurt in any way. I think education is a much better course of action than restriction.
October 23, 2008 at 12:00am
Those Mortar shells are dangerous fireworks. I have a picture I took of where one of them "misfired". It blew fire, sparks, and smoke at least 20 ft. from the Mortar, along with plastic shrapnel that could have caused severe injury. This picture is posted here in the pictures, pretty sure this was from 2007 July 4th. The hole left in the heavy plastic mortar is bigger than a cigarette pack. VERY DANGEROUS FIREWORKS. This is fact and not my opinion. My friend who lit it and steped back will never shoot a firework again. Should they be banned? Yes.
October 23, 2008 at 12:00am
Trvlace, whether you use them or not is your decision. Whether I use them or not should be my decision, not yours or the government's.
October 23, 2008 at 12:00am
This is a joke! Doesn't the council have more important things to worry about. Edwards goes out, looks for trouble in the hood and, SHOCKING he finds it! Education is what people need to respect fireworks, not laws. Criminals will use whatever they can to cause trouble. This is a waste of time!
October 24, 2008 at 12:00am
On Wednesday I placed a call to every city council member to let them know as a responsible citizen I did not agree with the fireworks ban. The only council member that did not have a voice mail or answering machine was Mr. Edwards. The phone numbers were taken from the city web site. Mr. Washington was the only one to return my call but according to the daily print he stated last night that they must go. So much for paying attention to the voters. Government is too big as it is. Council members should not be where they do not belong when they are not properly trained. Banning these types of fireworks will only punish the law abiding citizen as those looking for trouble will still buy them elsewhere and do the same as they have been doing.
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