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Iowa Fireworks Proposal Worries Missouri Stores

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EAGLEVILLE, Missouri —Every year around the Fourth of July, thousands of Iowans leave the state to legally buy fireworks.

That would have all changed under a bill proposed by lawmakers during the last legislative session. The bill didn’t pass, but the threat of it passing has fireworks companies along the Iowa-Missouri border worried about what could come.

Managers of fireworks stores in Missouri said they fear their profits could be heading north next year if Iowa legalizes the sale and use of fireworks.

“These businesses know it, so they’re clustered on the border waiting for us. They aren’t selling to Missourians,” said Jon Blakeley of Ames.

The last bill to legalize fireworks in Iowa had support from some lawmakers, but not enough to pass.

Jim Widlund, of Altoona, hopes it does next year.

“Because people from Iowa, they all come down here to buy fireworks anyway. They’re available. Why not get some tax money going back to Iowa?” said Widlund.

Other fireworks stores said they’re not concerned about a change in Iowa.

“We’ve had customers from Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Kansas -- you know, all over just coming through,” said Health Daniel, manger of New Hampton Christian School fundraiser.

Daniel, a fireworks tent manager, said Iowa legalizing fireworks would make an impact, but probably not as much as you’d think.

“This is a spur of the moment sale, people tend to buy where they are at the time,” said Daniel.

Under the current law in Iowa it’s OK to have fireworks, but it’s illegal to use them. Only sparklers and other non-explosives can be sold in the state.

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