Several recent complaints from county residents about exploding targets prompted the Auglaize County sheriff to issue a statement today warning of the problems they pose.
The targets are designed to explode when shot with a certain caliber rifle. Also known by the name brand Tannerite, the targets are legally purchased at shooting supply stores.
“What we have discovered recently is target shooters are purchasing the mixture and mixing large amounts to make a huge explosion,” Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said.
He said some residents have made reports that the subsequent explosions have been large enough to rattle windows in nearby homes.
“Responding to complaints and numerous questions throughout the county, we have discovered there are no laws in effect for possessing or discharging the product,” Solomon said, explaining that in some cases they are looking into charges of disorderly conduct on those using it.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has confirmed that Tannerite is legal to possess and shoot and is not a violation of any existing laws.
“We cannot have county residents in their homes being startled by a loud explosion,” Solomon said. “They don’t know that Tannerite is being set off. They also should not have to tolerate the windows in their home being rattled or debris from an explosion hitting their home.
“I am in no way against shooting and hunting, but there are limits,” the sheriff said. “Even some gun clubs in the county do not want this product being discharged at their ranges. In large amounts, it can cause craters in the ground or damage back stops designed for bullets not bombs.”
He said he is uncertain on the future of the product.
“I feel that it will be illegal to buy at some point due to the problems it is causing,” Solomon said. “If not illegal, it will be limited on the amount you can buy.”
Tannerite is sold by the pound now with 1 pound causing a huge explosion when detonated, the sheriff said.
Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office have not received any reports of injury caused by the exploding targets, but Solomon said he believes it is only a matter of time.
“Anytime you deal with an explosive, there is a potential for injury,” Solomon said. “This explosive you can buy in large enough quantities to shake the ground.
“Again, I am in no way against guns, shooting and hunting, but this product is becoming an issue and I feel people need to be warned ahead of time of the actions we will be taking,” he said.
Solomon said all cases related to the exploding targets are to be looked at individually, but if the product being detonated has caused an issue, they will look at sending the case to prosecutors with the Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to review for charges.
“I just want to warn residents of the issues and what I see as a problem,” Solomon said. “With the issues the United States has with school violence and terrorism, we do not need explosions going off and people wondering what it was that blew up.”