As It Happens

Man loses leg after shooting lawn mower packed with explosive target aids

"Mix it. Shake it. Shoot it." That's the tagline for the product Tannerite, an explosive used in North America for target practice. But while some gun enthusiasts are embracing it, others are pointing out its dangers.
Screenshot from YouTube video showing a Georgia man taking aim at a lawnmower packed with exploding targets, just moments before the ensuing explosion rips off one of his legs. (YouTube/tannerite.com)
They're going for deadly accuracy. But in the end, it could just be deadly.

In the United States, people are embracing Tannerite — an explosive used for target practice — then posting videos of their exploits on YouTube.

A recent video shows a young Georgia man doing just that. The video shows him take aim with a semi-automatic rifle at an old riding lawnmower packed with three pounds of the explosive. What happens next is horrific.
Joe Chapman is the Sheriff of Walton County, Georgia. (waltonsheriff.com)

"He started firing at this lawn mower," Joe Chapman tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "He gets about 30 yards away when he finally strikes what he says is Tannerite and the mower explodes and a piece of the metal from the mower takes his leg off just below the knee."

Chapman is the local Sheriff in Walton County, Georgia. He is speaking out about his concerns with Tannerite and similar brands of the explosive shooting aids. The products are meant to be used in small quantities, as aids to confirm when a target has been hit. But Chapman says teenagers are pushing the limits, creating larger explosions with devastating effects.
When he encased that stuff in that mower it became a bomb. When that stuff ignited the metal from the mower was shrapnel from the blast.- Sheriff Joe Chapman of Walton County, Georgia


"We receive [calls] from neighbours in the community saying, 'Hey our horses are scared to death, are dogs, are windows are shaking, that kind of thing,'" Chapman explains. "In the summertime it's not unusual to get two or three in a weekend."



Chapman admits that the behaviour is reckless but says technically no one is breaking any laws.

"There's lots of unknowns with this stuff," Chapman explains. "I don't make the laws. I don't legislate them. We just clean up after it, that's all we do."

Chapman says since speaking out he's been contacted by the company that makes the product.

"Definitely, they would like nothing more for me not to talk about that."

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