Couple's Gender Reveal Lands Them in Trouble With the Law

Their baby boy-announcing boom was a bit bigger than expected
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2017 3:55 PM CST
Updated Jan 25, 2017 3:33 AM CST

Creative gender reveals are suddenly all the rage with parents-to-be—but it's not often they result in the possibility of jail time. The Omaha World-Herald reports that 26-year-old Jon Sterkel, in order to tell the world that he was going to have a son, used a rifle to shoot an exploding target loaded with blue chalk on his Nebraska farm. He and his wife, Ashley, posted the video to Facebook. But it wasn't just friends and family who got the message. Residents of Scottsbluff heard the explosion—despite living three miles away—and thought a house had blown up. And the local sheriff's office received several calls about the big boom. After hearing about his explosion on the radio, Sterkel called the sheriff to explain.

Sterkel is facing a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail after being cited Monday for setting off an explosive without a state permit. He tells the BBC he had no idea he needed a permit—and most of the law enforcement employees he's spoken to didn't, either—since exploding targets are sold legally in stores. He says he's been shooting them on his farmland for years. Regardless, Sterkel says he'll "willingly" go to court if prosecuted because he's a "man of character." In the meantime, he says he's planning on something a "little more lower key" to announce the birth of his son, who he may name Wesson after the maker of the rifle used in the weekend's explosion. (This Nebraska newborn helped his dad propose to his mom.)

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