To the editor:

While many Columbus citizens enjoy lighting off fireworks with loved ones around the Fourth of July, fireworks can be harmful to people’s property, the environment, and armed service veterans suffering from PTSD. For those reasons, I wish to encourage citizens of Columbus to write or call their city council representative asking them to prohibit the use of fireworks within Columbus city limits.

While I understand the fiscal impact the selling of fireworks has on various Columbus organizations, the issue is the use of fireworks, not the selling thereof. A prohibition on the use of fireworks within city limits would still allow fireworks stands to operate in town. A prohibition of fireworks within city limits would mean that those who purchase fireworks could still launch them so long as they are outside the lines of the city and have the permission of the owner whose property outside Columbus city limits is being used to launch the fireworks. Another exception to the rule could apply to the fireworks display at Ag Park on July 3.

Now, the link between fireworks usage, property damage, environmental tumult, and PTSD victims cannot be fully explored within the confines of a letter to the editor. However, the National Consumer Product and Safety Commission does a yearly report on fireworks damage (as does the National Fire Prevention Association), the West Sound Wildlife Center has similar research available on environmental impacts, and research on PTSD triggers can be readily accessed by visiting the National Institute of Mental Health’s website, nimh.nih.gov.

In closing, I again encourage citizens of Columbus to do the research on the impacts of fireworks and write or call their council members recommending prohibiting the usage thereof within Columbus city limits. For your council member’s contact information, check the "Government" tab at columbusne.us.

Sean McDonald

Columbus

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