Vt. towns battle explosive that's legal to buy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. towns battle explosive that's legal to buy

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WALLINGFORD, Vt. -

"I felt the concussion go through my chest," Ann Tiplady said. "I have never felt anything like that before."

Tiplady lives on a quiet farm in Wallingford, but a recent string of explosions have set her and many neighbors on edge.

"Suddenly there was a very loud explosion next-door. My husband was on the other side of the house and he said he felt it inside his body, and he thought a gas station 2 miles away had blown up," Tiplady said.

The Vermont State Police say over the last several weeks they have been responding to numerous calls from concerned residents in Wallingford, Clarendon and Ira. Although the booms are packing a serious punch, they are coming from small containers and are what authorities are calling "exploding targets."

"It is something that is used as a target and it does, it explodes. But the ATF, federal agencies said there is nothing illegal about it. It is legal to buy, it is legal to possess," Vt. State Police Lt. Chuck Cacciatore said.

Inside the canister are two separate ingredients: ammonium nitrate prills and aluminum power. On their own, the items are not considered explosives, but once mixed and then shot with a rifle, the blast can be massive. While a half-pound is recommended to use on targets, 100 pounds can level a house.

The homemade explosives are legal to purchase, and one can do so online, or even at various sporting goods stores, like Dick's.

The exploding targets are often referred to by the popular brand name, Tannerite.

Paul Thomas of Cragin's Gun shop says the item does not stay on the shelves long.

"We sell quite a lot of it; our customers do like it," Thomas said. "They are using it in a safe manner, so I've been told. They are just having a lot of fun shooting it. It just makes a lot of noise."

Although popular among customers, some have raised concerns, and the Tannerite-type explosives have been banned in several states. Vermont is currently not one of those states, but Tiplady and other Wallingford residents say they are hoping for change.

"The explosions are really disruptive," Tiplady said. "It's hard to enjoy living with explosions next door."

After the massive explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas several weeks ago, additional concerns have been raised about the components of Tannerite. Ammonium nitrate prills were what the Texas fertilizer plant was manufacturing.

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