Jennifer Plank-Greer of Kokomo, Indiana, was visiting a home in Celina, Ohio, on May 6, 2012, when she started recording cellphone video of a man about to fire a rifle at a target in the backyard. Plank-Greer was 150 feet away as the man fired at his target, a refrigerator containing just 2 pounds of exploding targets, a product openly for sale at some of the country's biggest stores.
The refrigerator exploded, sending shrapnel flying in all directions. A metal fragment struck Plank-Greer's right hand, nearly severing it at the wrist. "In a blink of an eye ... it was gone," she said. She says she was unaware the refrigerator contained exploding targets.
Plank-Greer, who has since moved to Bradenton, Florida, because cold weather is painful for her injury, has undergone multiple surgeries to reattach her hand and attempt to restore some of its function.
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H2Targets and Tannerite both make exploding targets whose key ingredient is ammonium nitrate, the same substance used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others in 1995 and in IEDs (improvised explosive devices) used against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In 2013, the FBI issued an intelligence bulletin warning that exploding targets have "potential use as explosives in IEDs by criminals and extremists."
Yet today Tannerite can be legally purchased at most sporting goods stores. Gun enthusiasts buy it for target practice because it explodes when you shoot it, letting you know you've made the shot.
TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went shopping at one store and bought 40 pounds of it—enough to blow up a house—with no questions asked. And potential terrorists don't even have to show up at a store to buy Tannerite. A Rossen Reports producer bought the same amount, 40 pounds, online. A week later it was delivered to a doorstep in bulk.
Even some firearms experts call the situation unacceptable. "I'm a huge supporter of the Second Amendment," said Travis Bond. "But it's extremely dangerous, like a bomb for sale on the shelf."