Legal, over-the-counter explosive criticized after possible terrorism link

Legal, over-the-counter explosive criticized after possible terrorism link

ST. JAMES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - An explosive and dangerous product sold over the counter in Louisiana is being linked to recent bombings in the Northeast.

Investigators believe Tannerite was used to cause at least one of the explosions in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, according to the New York Times. The chemical compound is designed for target practice with high-powered rifles. It includes two ingredients when separate are stable and non-explosive, but when mixed together can be lethal.

"It works like a little mini explosive," former state lawmaker Karen St. Germain said.

St. Germain pushed for Tannerite regulation but fell short. In 2014, she was only able to create a law where five pounds can be purchased at once. Any more than that would have to be registered.

"If you have ill intentions, there's no degree to what could be done with this," St. Germain said.

The way the law is written right now in Louisiana, there's nothing stopping someone from going into a store, buying five pounds and going into another store to buying five more.

"You might as well sell me a stick of dynamite," St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin said.

A recent Tannerite explosion near Martin's home shook his windows.

"You could hear it if you were inside and if you were outside, you could feel it," he said. "Watch what people are doing with this product...I didn't know you could buy a product over the counter that can do such a thing."

The makers of Tannerite released a statement saying they're "working to determine if, indeed, the product was factually and positively identified in connection with these acts of violence. At this time, we are unable to validate these allegations due to it being an ongoing investigation."

On their website, manufacturers say the product cannot explode with a smoldering fuse; an electronic fuse; electrical current (including a flip-phone detonator); an open flame; impact with a hammer, ax, or other concussive device; or a low-velocity handgun or rimfire rifle cartridges moving less than 2,000 feet per second.

Manufacturers say "To reliably initiate, Tannerite targets need to be hit solidly with a transonic (ital) round. A transonic round is one going 2,000 feet per second or faster. All other things being equal, larger diameter bullets work better than smaller ones."

Either way, Sheriff Martin believes the product needs regulation.

"If somebody really needs it, lets not make it impossible for them to get it. But I'm concerned about the safety of it. Some of it would probably be just someone inexperienced and not knowing. Before we see people getting hurt or we have people with bad intentions using the product to cause panic and fear in a lot of people," Sheriff Martin said.

Tannerite is not believed to have been used in all of the explosions. Law enforcement said black powder was discovered at some blast sites.

In Canada, you need an explosive importation permit from country's national resources department to even purchase the product.

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