Military Surplus Cartridge Case Issue Resolved

Posted on March 20, 2009

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This week, the Department of Defense (DoD) informed NRA-ILA that fired military small arms cartridge cases are once again eligible for sale, following a temporary suspension in such sales instituted last week.  NRA-ILA began discussions with DoD shortly after the suspension took effect, and we were assured from the beginning that efforts were underway to resolve the issue favorably. 

cartridge casesDoD additionally confirmed the lifting of the suspension to pro-Second Amendment United States Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who sent the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) a joint letter vigorously opposing the suspension, on the grounds that it had "an impact on small businesses who sell reloaded ammunition utilizing these fired casings, and upon individual gun owners who purchase spent military brass at considerable cost savings for their personal use." 

Everyone who would have been impacted by the suspension, had it become permanent, owes thanks to Senator Baucus for his leadership on this issue, as well as to Senator Tester and U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who also weighed in strongly on behalf of gun owners and the suppliers from whom they obtain ammunition reloaded with surplus military brass. 

In announcing that the suspension has been lifted, DoD also made clear that no cartridge cases that, in the absence of the suspension, would have been sold for reloading purposes were destroyed while the suspension was in effect. Such cases were instead protected by DoD during the suspension, and are again eligible for sale.  With ammunition currently in short supply, that was welcome news, to be sure. 

DLA also put to rest various theories and rumors that were circulated on the Internet concerning the reason for the suspension.  As DLA explained to Senators Baucus and Tester, and to NRA-ILA, DoD officials responsible for the demilitarization of military property temporarily halted the release of the cartridge cases last week, pending review of a policy change issued last year by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which, in the interest of national security, halted the sale of items within a broad category of government property including, but not limited to, surplus small arms cartridge cases. 

To make cartridge cases eligible for sale once again, DoD demilitarization officials verified that the cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for use within the United States, and then executed the re-categorization.  Whereas during the brief suspension, fired cartridge cases would have been releasable only if the purchaser crushed or smelted them, now the cases may be sold as before, intact and re-loadable. 

DoD also assured NRA-ILA that companies previously authorized to purchase cartridge cases under Trade Security Controls need no further vetting at this time, and are eligible to resume purchasing cases under the policy adopted this week. 

In sum, a problem that could have had serious repercussions for the remanufactured ammunition industry and the countless gun owners who support it, appears to have been resolved quickly. 

For more information: 

http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/DLA.MilitaryBrass.pdf 

http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/Baucus_shellcasingsresponse.pdf 

http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/Testershellcasingsres.pdf

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