Authorities in Texas concerned about exploding targets

An article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph explains how law enforcement authorities in Texas are concerned about the spreading use of exploding targets in the state. It also reports that an eight-year old boy was killed in Oklahoma by shrapnel from an exploding target.

Below is an excerpt:

Reports of mysterious, loud booming explosions in rural areas across East Texas have sheriff deputies and fire departments searching their jurisdictions for the cause.

Although there typically is no lingering smoke, fire or other signs to point authorities to locate the source, Smith County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Middleton and other law enforcement officials believe many of the explosive sounds are the result of people using shooting targets designed to explode when hit.

“A lot of these calls are due to people shooting (various brands of explosive targets) which are perfectly legal across much of the nation at this time,” Middleton said.

The targets are sold as kits containing two chemical components — such as ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder — that separately are not explosive, but when mixed together are primed for eruption. The target kits are available to the public in most gun stores and large sporting goods retailers.

Manufacturers of the product say the products are safe when used as intended, but law enforcement officials warn improper use could result in serious injury. In several instances across the nation, the shrapnel from blasts resulted in serious injuries and death.

Earlier this year, an 8-year-old boy in Oklahoma was killed when an outdoor stove stuffed with the material was shot and exploded, sending shrapnel into the child. The child’s adult relative has been charged with manslaughter in the death…

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.