Iowa is giving out fewer fireworks licenses to vendors

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (KCRG) -- The number of licensed vendors in Iowa has dropped since the state legalized fireworks.

Travis Allen, the owner of Sundown Fireworks in Williamsburg, blames new statewide numbers that show fewer vendors are seeking licenses to sell fireworks in part on new restrictive ordinances some cities have imposed to cut down on their use.

One such place where numbers are down is Marion. There, the fire chief reports there were 18 vendors in the jurisdiction last year but that number has dropped to just four this year.

What is happening in Marion seems to be following a state trend. In 2018, there were 791 firework vendor licenses issued by the Iowa State Fire Marshal. So far this year, that number is down to 518, a 35% decease year over year.

At Sundown Fireworks in Williamsburg, where rules surrounding the use of fireworks are less restrictive, staff there say they would not be surprised if their sales actually increase over last year's.

"I think what it was is there was a lot of out of state people came in, tried to grab as much as they could and then left," said Travis Allen, owner of Sundown. "I think you know they kind of condensed them into an area where I don't what to say they cannibalized each other but they kind of did."

Coralville's fire chief says the number of vendors in their community has risen from five last year to nine this year.

Allen thinks though the biggest issue his business faces when it comes to firework sales is not new regulations but rather the weather. Allen says he thinks the rain is the biggest reason why his business had a slow start this season.