Portland, Ore.-- Click on YouTube and you will find dozens of videos of cars blowing up, trucks being demolished and refrigerators blasted into pieces. According to the online posts, the blasts are result of an Oregon product called Tannerite, a product that is legal and available to almost anyone.
Tannerite is an exploding target. It allows shooters to get instant feedback when they hit their mark from long-range. It's a fun product, says inventor Dan Tanner, owner of Oregon-based Tannerite Sports.
As the YouTube videos display, people often use larger quantities than the recommended amount of Tannerite creating massive blasts.
If you are going to use it, use it for what it is designed for. In this case, target practice but nothing else because you could cause serious injury to people around you, said Captain Richard Hosmer of the Oregon National Guard's 102 Civil Support Team.
Because Tannerite comes in two components and has to be mixed by the consumer, it is largely unregulated. It can be purchased at sporting good stores with no identification or background check.
Over the past two years, homeland security officials have issued several advisories about exploding targets. In March, the FBI issued an intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement, Tannerite, or reactive targets, can be used as an explosive for illicit purposes by criminal and extremists.
No one is for homeland security as much as I am, but this goes a little over the top, says Dan Tanner. The owner of Tannerite believes it is safer than commonly available explosives like black powder, used in the Boston Marathon bombings. He explains Tannerite won't ignite with a spark or match. Instead, it is detonated with a shot from a high-powered rifle.
Last year, the state of Maryland banned the sale of Tannerite or similar products to consumers. Earlier this year, Indiana lawmakers tried to set a minimum age for its purchase. That bill failed.
A homeland security professor says his greatest concern is with violent extremists, not a product.
Scott Winegar of Concordia University in Portland explains If someone has ill intent and they want to cause harm to others, they'll find a way to do it.
The owner of Tannerite worked with the FBI to create an awareness program. It encourages retailers that sell Tannerite to report suspicious behavior, including large purchases, use of someone else's credit card and/or lack of knowledge regarding firearms or Tannerite.
Homeland security experts hope if the public is aware of exploding targets like Tannerite, they will report any misuse or suspicious behavior.