Sheriff Warns Of Exploding Targets

ST. MARYS — A local law enforcement official is warning residents about the dangers of using exploding targets for sport shooting.

Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said his office has handled several recent complaints regarding the use of Tannerite or exploding rifle targets. The targets, which are legally sold at shooting supply stores, are designed to explode when shot with a certain caliber bullet.

The issue, Solomon said, is that residents are purchasing the mixture and mixing large amounts of it to make large explosion.

Some of the reports have indicated the resulting explosions have rattled windows at nearby homes.

“We cannot have county residents in their home being startled by a loud explosion,” Solomon said in a news release. “They don’t know that it is Tannerite 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.”

While there is currently no law banning the practice, Solomon the sheriff’s office is looking into possible disorderly conduct violations in some cases. Some county gun ranges, Solomon said, do not allow the use of the product because of the damage it causes.

“I feel that it will be illegal to buy at some point due to the problems it is causing,” Solomon said. “If (it’s) not illegal, it will be limited on the amount you can buy.”

Currently, Tannerite is available by the pound. Solomon noted one pound of Tannerite can cause “a huge explosion.”

Solomon checked on Tannerite’s status with the ATF, which told him it is legal to possess and shoot the material. While his office has yet to handle any reports of injuries associated with shooting Tannerite, Solomon said he believes it’s only a matter of time before someone is injured.

“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 a head of time of the actions we will be taking.”

All cases will be handled on an individual basis. If the shooting of Tannerite does cause a problem, Solomon said the cases will be sent to the prosecuting attorney’s office.