City Council will consider a city-wide ban on exploding targets at its Nov. 17 meeting. It was determined that there is no ordinance for this type of target practice after two residents complained about an incident earlier this month at a council meeting Nov. 2.

Some residents were using Tannerite as an exploding target near Londonderry woods, and it caused explosions so loud that they shook nearby houses. Ernie Cooper is a Belfast resident who experienced the explosions and said at the council meeting that it sounded like dynamite.

He said he was surprised to learn from Belfast Police Chief Gerry Lincoln that using the explosive is allowed under state and city law. He supports target practice with guns, but thinks the use of explosives is dangerous in residential areas. “It’s the kind of thing that would scare children and spook horses,” he said. “This is not just an annoyance, it’s serious.”

Another resident who spoke at the meeting said she was “completely shocked and rattled by the use of explosives.” She and other neighbors were unaware that explosives were going to be used nearby and did not know where the noise coming from at the time.

Most councilors expressed support for a ban on explosives and noted that they were not covered under the city’s ban on fireworks. “I just think it’s nuts to blow up giant explosions near people,” City Councilor Mike Hurley said. Councilor Paul Dean said he could hear the explosions at his house about 2 miles away.

Codes and Planning Director Bub Fournier said he contacted towns near Belfast with explosive bans about how to craft an ordinance controlling the issue. The proposed ordinance reads as follows:

“Any device which explodes upon impact by a projectile fired from a firearm. This includes and is not limited to binary exploding targets made of separately packaged ‘fuel’ and ‘oxidizer’ that must be mixed to make the explosive device ‘live’ (such as but not limited to targets marked under the names Tannerite, Star and Sure Shot).”

The penalty is up to a $500 fine and court fees associated with legal action against a person in violation of the ordinance.