An extraordinary announcement that apparently makes a lot of ammunition illegal:
Washington, DC -(AmmoLand.com)- In an Explosives Industry Newsletter issued in June 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) reclassified wetted nitrocellulose [also known as flash paper, flash cotton, guncotton, and flash string] containing greater than 12.6 percent nitrogen as a high explosive under the federal explosives laws.
As explained below, this is a dramatic and sudden change in agency policy with a significant impact on the ammunition industry. The new policy was announced in a newsletter without any opportunity for industry input.
The federal explosives laws, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40, regulate commerce in “explosive materials.” The term “explosive materials” is defined as explosives, blasting agents, and detonators. The term “explosives” is defined as any chemical compound mixture or device the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. The definition requires ATF to publish an annual list of explosives that fit within the statutory definition. The 2015 List of Explosives is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-10-23/pdf/2015-26994.pdf.
Exemptions from the requirements of the federal explosives laws are provided, in pertinent part, for: (1) the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation of explosive materials for delivery to any federal or State agency; (2) for small arms ammunition and components thereof; and (3) for the manufacture under the regulation of the U.S. military of explosive materials for their official use.
The term “ammunition” is defined in 27 C.F.R. § 555.11 as follows:
“Small arms ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or smokeless propellants designed for use in small arms, including percussion caps, and 3/32 inch and other external burning pyrotechnic hobby fuses. The term does not include black powder.”
ATF’s longstanding position is that the small arms ammunition exemption applies only to .50 caliber or smaller rifle or handgun ammunition as well as certain shotgun ammunition. This position is clear in a June 2013 Explosive Industry Newsletter addressing exploding ammunition.
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I am not competent to assess this, but it is being interpreted by some as a backdoor way to disable guns in the United States.
If this is accurate, I expect there will be some serious pushback.
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