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2 Investigators: Store-Bought Targets Are ‘Dynamite Waiting To Go Off’

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(CBS) – Explosives being sold at local stores may lead to injury or death, and the FBI has issued a warning.

CBS 2’s Dave Savini looks at exploding targets which basically are chemical-filled jars being used for more than target practice.

YouTube videos showing men, women, even children blowing stuff up are going viral.

When put inside metal objects, these exploding targets become lethal, shrapnel-producing bombs. Last year, a Minnesota man was killed by shrapnel related to an exploding target.

Jennifer Plank also was a victim of this and wants others to learn about the dangers.

“They think that’s fun and they don’t understand the repercussions that can happen out of this,” she says.

She was at a party in Indiana when she stopped to video some men target-shooting.

She was recording when three pounds of the mixed chemical demolished a refrigerator. Shrapnel then hit her arm and nearly amputated her hand.

“It caught my hand right underneath my fingers, up through there, and this was all a mangled mess,” Plank says, showing her arm.

She fears more people will be injured and is suing H2 Targets, just one manufacturer. Her attorney is Chris Stevenson.

“I don’t think the general public is really aware of how far this shrapnel goes and with what kind of force it can explode,” Stevenson says.

Other states have banned these exploding targets, but they are legal to buy and use in Illinois. They are sold at sporting goods stores like Dick’s and Gander Mountain.

There are no restrictions on who can buy this and how much can be bought. Even though an FBI bulletin last year warned of criminals and extremists potentially using these targets to make improvised explosive devices.

Hans Hummel with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), says exploding targets are only federally regulated after the ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder are mixed.

“Prior to that, in our eyes and under federal law, they are not explosives,” Hummel says.

Retailers sell the kits with the materials separated.

Plank wants exploding targets banned.

“It doesn’t need to be on store shelves. It is dynamite just waiting to go off,” she says.

In her case, the company H2 Target says it is a safe product when used correctly.

Maryland and California have banned these products, and it is banned on U.S. Forest Service land because exploding targets lead to multiple wildfires, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

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