The law of fireworks

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Commentary

By Mike and Laura Hansen

This past Saturday, June 25th, we had a cookout on a great sunny day in Carmel.

We had a few friends over, and played bean bags while our children played in a small bounce house. We began celebrating the 235th birthday of our nation just nine days away, by lighting fireworks we bought locally.

It was 9:45 PM. State law reads fireworks are legal to light everyday between 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., except on holidays, during which time you can light them off until midnight.

Our neighbors joined the fun and we all took turns lighting up the sky with colorful booms. However, as I bent over to light the wick on a small firework, a Carmel police car pulled up to our house and walked my way. He introduced himself and explained that a Carmel City Ordinance outlaws us from lighting fireworks. I asked him what he meant since state law said that we could.

He called it in, unsure himself. His sergeant responded said City Code 6-158 does not permit fireworks in city limits, except for on certain days.

We asked him what the days were and he replied June 29th through July seventh. We were baffled; we put away our fireworks disappointed and apologetic to our friends. The next morning we researched the ordinance and after several hours of searching we found the ordinance buried on the internet.

It turns out in 2009, Carmel passed a noise ordinance that states fireworks may not be lit except between June 27th through July 11th, 9 a.m. through midnight. Even the police did not know the correct rules.

After speaking with many Carmel residents, it was clear that not one person knew of this ordinance. This is something that should be communicated during firework season, and be brought in line with all the communities in the area. The next day I could hear fireworks all over town.


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