Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Baby Announcement Bomb Gets Future Father Charged With Crime

We've all seen the creative ways that expectant parents reveal the sex of their baby. Countless parents have cut into pink and blue cakes, popped colorful confetti filled balloons, and even made ridiculous videos that only their families can really enjoy. However, one soon to be dad went a bit too far and is now facing criminal charges as a result of the booming reveal.

Jon Sterkel, of Nebraska, made a binary explosive, also known as an explosive target, mixed with blue chalk. Then, to reveal the sex of his and his wife's soon to be born baby boy, he fired a bullet at the explosive, setting off a large explosive with a cloud of blue smoke. When the explosion rocked the area much harder than expected, authorities started getting calls from concerned townsfolk three miles away who thought a home or car exploded.

Father Doesn't Know Best

The explosion was so large that local radio picked up the story. That's when Sterkel decided it would be a good idea to call the local police to tell them what was going on. Instead of getting a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, Sterkel is now facing criminal misdemeanor charges for setting off an explosive target without a permit.

Under the Nebraska Explosive Control Act, in order to set off an explosive like Sterkel did, a person must be fingerprinted, photographed, and have a background check run on them before obtaining the necessary permit to do so. Though it is legal to buy the explosives, mixing the compounds that make it active, then setting it off, require an individual to be permitted.

These permitting requirements apparently don't sound reasonable to everyone. Gun advocates have come forward advocating that Sterkel did nothing wrong. They're apparently convinced that the Nebraska law requiring a person to be permitted before detonating an explosive is "silly." Nonetheless, it's the law.

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