Seller of Exploding Rifle Targets Fined $350K, Ordered to Tell California Customers Permit Is Needed for Use

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An Oregon-based company that sells exploding rifle targets must tell customers that a permit’s required for use and pay $350,000 in penalties after some of the flammable targets led to a 1,200-acre fire, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

The DA offices of Riverside and San Diego counties sued Tannerite Sports LLC, the target seller, after two San Diego residents detonated the targets on Bureau of Land Management land and caused a 1,200-acre fire — leading to a $4.3 million lawsuit against them, prosecutors said.  Just before the company was set to go to trial, it reached a settlement with prosecutors.

The final judgment in the case was signed by Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Vineyard on Aug. 30.

As part of the settlement, Tannerite cannot tell customers the targets are legal to use or possess in California without a permit or license, according to prosecutors. It also cannot advertise that detonating the targets won’t cause a fire.

Currently, the company’s website states the targets were “specifically designed to be safe and non-flammable, whether it’s sitting on a shelf, being mixed or used.”

“When shot with a high-power rifle it produces a water vapor and a thunderous boom,” the website states.

Tannerite must also pay a total of $350,000 in restitution and penalties, according to prosecutors. That includes $50,000 in restitution to the two people who were initially sued for $4.3 million after a fire was started by the targets. They later settled for $50,000, according to prosecutors.

The remaining $300,000 will go toward civil penalties and costs for investigating, which are to be split among the DA offices in Riverside and San Diego counties, according to a statement from Riverside County prosecutors.

The exploding targets come with materials that are meant to be mixed and cause them to combust, with several of the products advertised online featuring tag lines like “boom” and “lightning.” California residents must obtain a permit to use them, even in their unmixed form, according to the Riverside County DA’s office.

On its website, Tannerite advises consumers to “always check and follow all state, county, and/or local laws and regulations for any applicable permit or license requirements” — while also saying the targets are less dangerous than their competitors.

“Tannerite makes the safest and most stable binary reactive targets on the market,” the website reads, adding

Under the settlement reached with prosecutors, any other binary exploding targets made, advertised, sold or distributed by Tannerite face the same restrictions, even if they’re produced using a different name, according to the Riverside County DA’s office.

The company must also ensure it advertises that California residents may need permits on all its social media posts related to the product, according to the settlement.

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