What to Know About the Las Vegas Shooter's Bomb-Making Materials

After conducting a raid on the Las Vegas gunman's properties, the police have discovered that suspected shooter, Stephen Paddock, was in possession of bomb-making materials.

Spread across a number of locations, investigators located Tannerite and ammonium nitrate. In addition to finding at least 23 handguns and rifles, the police found the explosive materials in his Mesquite, Nevada home and in his car, according to ABC News.

Tannerite is the brand name often used for target practice. Many sporting goods stores and online vendors sell the product.

An explosion is created when it is fired upon, thus making it known as a "binary exploding target." It's sold as a "shot-indicator."

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explains that binary explosives are pre-packaged products consisting of two separate components. There is typically an oxidizer, such as ammonium nitrate, and a fuel like aluminum or another metal.

"However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material subject to the regulatory requirements," the ATF states.

Much like black powder and all other explosives exempt for sporting use, Tannerite falls under the same federals laws.

"Remember though, just because it's a legal product under federal law if used as prescribed, does not mean that you can use it in any manner you wish," the Tannerite website reads.

As for ammonium nitrate, it is a chemical often used as fertilizer in agricultural production. Other uses include commercial explosive mixtures, such as in mining.

The United States uses millions of tons of ammonium nitrate annually, but incidents involving the chemical are quite rare. However, there are "severe consequences" for misuse, the Environmental Protection Agency writes in a report.


The Ammonium Nitrate Security Program is run by the Department of Homeland Security and was developed in response to direction from Congress. The purpose of the program is to "regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate by an ammonium nitrate facility ... to prevent the misappropriation or use of ammonium nitrate in an act of terrorism."

Other information regarding Paddock's intended use of the chemicals is not immediately known.