Dickinson officials worried about explosives abuseHettinger County law enforcement said Thursday a legal explosive that is relatively new to North Dakota is making a boom in the area. “We have just been seeing more or less that it has been used for target practice,” said Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner. “It’s just a matter of time before someone uses it the wrong way.”
By: By April Baumgarten , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Hettinger County law enforcement said Thursday a legal explosive that is relatively new to North Dakota is making a boom in the area.
“We have just been seeing more or less that it has been used for target practice,” said Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner. “It’s just a matter of time before someone uses it the wrong way.”
Tannerite is an exploding agent designed for target practice which can only be detonated by a high-velocity rifle from long distances. Inventor Daniel Tanner of Pleasant Hill, Ore., patented the mixture and sells it across the nation, he said.
Tannerite is sold as two components that are not explosive until mixed, said Brandon Grover, Runnings Farm and Fleet store manager. Runnings sells the explosive, which can only be sold to anyone who is 21 or older. It is safe as long as people follow the same rules as using a firearm, Grover said.
“I guess it is just fun to use,” he said. “You have to hit it with a bullet for it to blow up, so you’re not going to shoot a gun where anybody is standing anyway. There is no way for someone to get blown up by it.”
It cannot be transported once mixed, said Roger Rostvet, North Dakota Game and Fish Department deputy director in Bismarck.
Rostvet has not heard of the substance being an issue across the country.
“It sounds like a redneck barbecue,” he said. “We haven’t had any negative experience, but I don’t even know if we have had any experience with it.”
Warner said people may have seen it used on TV shows.
“I think it’s just fun to watch something go boom,” she said. “I think people like to see things explode.”
A person that “creates a risk of a catastrophe, although no fire, explosion or other destruction results,” is guilty of a class C felony, which has a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, according to North Dakota law.
“Using this stuff around any area that could potentially cause injuries to persons or harm to property could very likely result in criminal charges,” Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said. “If it is explosive when combined, I would have an issue with that.”
Henning hasn’t heard of anyone using the substance in a destructive manner. He said it sounded like a bad idea and there are a lot of circumstances that could make it dangerous.
“It just sounds like a bad idea to me,” he said. “Until somebody’s combined it to make a destructive device out of it, it may not be an issue.”
People should be aware that they may hear loud explosions more often, Warner said. The Hettinger County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t condone its use, but it wants people to be careful.
“With any explosive device it has the potential of causing bodily harm when it is infused,” she said. “They just need to be cautious with it and use it as instructed.”
April Baumgarten is a
reporter at the Dickinson Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.