Shawnee considers letting fireworks fly within city limits

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The Shawnee City Council debated lifting the city's ban on fireworks at a meeting on Tuesday night. A motion was approved to ask residents their opinion on the issue; a citizen survey will be mailed out this fall.

"If they were to legalize them, that would let us get out that safety message," said Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox, who said he is okay with whatever decision the council makes.

"If they become legal in Shawnee then we are really going to drive home the importance of adult supervision and safety," he continued.

Council members spent about an hour debating the pros and cons of lifting the fireworks ban and watched a slideshow presentation put together by the city. People in favor of keeping the ban argue the fireworks are loud, dangerous and the noise could be a trigger for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Those in favor of ditching the ban argue it would make things easier for law enforcement who wouldn't have to spend time ticketing offenders, and it would allow people living in Shawnee to make their own decisions.

"The injuries are the big thing, you know putting something like that in the hands of a small child you run that risk," said Chief Mattox. "Obviously safety is huge and doing it in a controlled environment with guidance and adult supervision is a huge plus."

According to the city, there's only been five fires because of fireworks since 2001.