|Ordinance could lift firework ban in city|
|Thursday, January 10, 2013|
By SABRINA GARRETT
Recently elected Ward 1 City Council Member Lanny Jewell said he has “gone back and forth” on the legalization of firework sales in the city of Lebanon – which will be voted up or down at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“It specifies all the regulations where if you are a vendor and want to set up you must first go to the city and get lined up. It also spells out the times when you can shoot – which are limited to the holidays, and that if you are under 18 you have to be accompanied by an adult,” Jewell said of his understanding of the ordinance.
“There are really good sides on both. For me it boils down to the people that are doing bad things with fireworks. They are going to do that anyways. We can’t have a big enough police force to stop it all,” he said, adding that by banning fireworks they are “penalizing the ones that want to do right and that aren’t shooting at somebody’s house.”
“In these cases the parents are there supervising. Some people are going to do it whether it is illegal or not,” he said.
Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino put his feelings on the subject this way: “The County sells fireworks and gets revenue from it. Mt. Juliet sells fireworks and gets revenue from it. Neither one of those places has burned down – I think we will be fine.”
Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said fireworks are currently banned within the city limits due to an incident that occurred in July 2000. “In May of 2000, the city council that was seated at that time passed an ordinance that limited sales and private use of fireworks. Over July 4th weekend we had officers respond to a call in public housing where a group of juveniles were firing at houses,” Bowen explained.
When officers arrived on the scene the juveniles proceeded to fire rockets at their officers and their patrol cars. “It was about 75 people that had gathered, firing at these officers. We had to call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol. We had two officers get hurt,” Bowen said.
His greatest fear is that if fireworks are legalized again in the city that citizens or officers will once again be injured. As the law currently stands, Bowen said they do not get many calls. “The main thing we get calls about is noise – after 10 o’clock at night when people are trying to sleep,” he said.