Hand Grenade Found Amongst Grandfather’s Belongings Detonates

As antique as it may be, keeping a hand grenade as a knick knack in one’s home is a terrible idea, as proven by a tragic incident that occurred this month. While a Lake County, Indiana father—47 year-old Bryan Niedert—and his two sons were looking through their grandfather’s belongings, they came across a vintage hand grenade, a discovery that proved to be disastrous. 

In a statement, sheriff Oscar Martinez wrote, “Someone reportedly pulled the pin on the device, and it detonated.”

For Niedert, the explosion was fatal. His two sons were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds.

Why Would Anyone Keep a Hand Grenade Lying Around the House?

According to an article on Military Heritage, the collecting of vintage grenades is not as uncommon as one may believe: It reads, “For collectors, the grenades have become as iconic to the respective nation as the uniforms and helmets.”

Typically, antique explosives are deactivated, though certain grenades, like the one that belonged to the Niedert children’s grandfather, are still functional. 

An All-Too Common Tale

The accidental detonation of antique hand grenades is nothing new. In 2020, for example, there was a widely publicized incident involving a Virginia teenager who purchased a live hand grenade from an antique mall in Shallotte, South Carolina.

While neither the buyer nor vendor believed the grenade to be active, the purchase led to the teenager’s death, prompting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to investigate the seller, the Fancy Flea Antique Mall.

They found that additional grenades had been sold by the same vendor.

The Legality of Owning Functioning Hand Grenades

Hand grenades are currently regulated under the National Firearms Act, a federal law that in 1968 was amended to make illegal the possession of “destructive devices,” a broad phrase that includes grenades.

While many people, such as those listed in this article, have been able to, at least in the legal sense, get away with owning hand grenades, others have faced serious consequences for possessing the weapons.

Take, for example, Daniel Musso, who in 2020 was sentenced to 31 years in a federal prison and forced to pay a $7,500 fine after being found guilty of possessing fragmentation grenades.

 “The defendant’s troubling scheme to obtain hand grenades could have resulted in a horrifying act of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray. “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the FBI supported by the ATF and Seabrook Police Department, Mr. Musso was stopped before he could take any action that would cause harm.

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