Indiana senator wants restrictions on exploding targets

INDIANAPOLIS - New efforts are underway to restrict the sale of exploding targets in Indiana, products that are often misused by people looking to simply blow stuff up.

The Call 6 Investigators found anyone can easily buy the products on store shelves, regardless of criminal background.

Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, wants people to show proof of age 18 and for the products to be sold behind the counter.

"I’ve heard from gun owners, they think I’m restricting fun," Merritt said. "The YouTube videos are downright scary. I definitely think it should be restricted."

Currently Indiana has no restrictions on the sale of exploding targets, but stores can set their own policies.

The products are meant for long range shooters to know if they’ve hit their mark.

However, many people misuse the product by using too much, standing too close and putting the product inside things that can create shrapnel.

"We need to restrict access to it through age and also behind the counter to send a message this is dangerous," Merritt said.

Previous efforts to pass laws on exploding targets in Indiana have failed, but Merritt says people are learning more about the product.

"We’re trying to keep it out of the hands of youth," Merritt said.

The Call 6 Investigators asked gun owners at the NRA convention in Indianapolis what they think of Merritt’s bill.

"The components in exploding targets are readily available as separate objects," said Drew Vedenhaupt, an NRA convention vendor. "I don’t think it’s something worth approaching."

"There should be training to use the things," said Don Blazier of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. "I could see being age 18, you should be an adult to use one and handle one, but I don’t know about buying one."

Merritt has the support of Jennifer Plank-Greer of Kokomo who lost her hand when an exploding target was placed inside a fridge, shot, and blown up.

"It’s harder to buy cough syrup than it is to buy this product," said Greer.

Maryland and California already have restrictions on purchasing exploding targets, and the Louisiana legislature is currently considering legislation that would create restrictions.

Merritt plans to introduce his bill in the upcoming legislation session.

Follow Kara Kenney on Twitter: @karakenney6 | Facebook: KaraKenneyNews

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