A Nebraska man received a misdemeanor ticket on Monday after using an explosive rifle to announce the gender of his baby.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Jon Sterkel and his wife Ashley thought the target would be a fun and creative way to announce they are expecting a boy in June.
Sterkel shot the target Saturday on his part of rural land outside Scottsbluff and when he hit it, blue chalk powder packed around the rifle target erupted. However, Sterkel got into some hot water when worried neighbors called authorities over a possible explosion in town.
Sterkel said he heard the news report and immediately called the Scotts Bluff County Sherriff’s Office to explain what was going on.
However, authorities issued Sterkel the ticket for using the exploding target without a permit. He told the paper he had never had any problems with the police before last weekend’s event.
Sterkel could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
“People need to follow the proper protocol,” he told the paper. “We never knew, and we’ve shot these for years. If you can go to a store and buy it, how in the world can you know it’s illegal?”
Nebraska State Patrol bomb squad leader Lt. Jim DeFreece told the World-Herald that it’s common for people to misinterpret the law over exploding targets. He said it’s legal to buy and possess exploding targets and also legal to explode them, but once the components mix and become explosive that’s when it becomes a legal issue.
DeFreece added that several permits are handed out each year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.