Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

The Facts About OSHA's Ammunition Proposal

Friday, July 13, 2007

 July 16 , 2007  UPDATE: Labor Department Announces It Will Revise Overreaching OSHA Explosives Rule  

 

A recent proposal for new “explosives safety” regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rightly caused a flurry of concern among gun owners and those in the firearm business.  OSHA had set out to make legitimate updates to workplace safety regulations pertaining to explosives; unfortunately, the proposed rule goes far beyond regulating true explosives.  The proposed rules include restrictions that very few gun stores, sporting goods stores, shippers, or ammunition dealers could comply with. 

           

The key problem in the proposed rule is that OSHA defines “explosives” to include “black powder, … small arms ammunition, small arms ammunition primers, [and] smokeless propellant.”  The proposal defines different classes of “explosives” based on the hazards they present, but then treats ammunition and components the same as the most volatile high explosives, for nearly all purposes. 

 

In fact, industry and military tests have long proved that small arms cartridge pose little hazard in a fire.  A classic reference work from the 1940s describes tests in which large quantities of shotgun shells and metallic cartridges were deliberately set on fire.  The ammunition generally burned slowly, and cartridges ignited “piece by piece” without throwing fragments more than a few feet.  (Julian S. Hatcher, Hatcher’s Notebook 532-33 (2d ed. 1962).)

           

Because small arms ammunition and components are far less hazardous than high explosives, existing practices for their storage, transportation and sale are very different.  But under the proposed rule, a workplace that contains even a handful of small arms cartridges, for any reason, is considered a “facility containing explosives” and therefore subject to many impractical restrictions.  Among the many examples:

 

  • No person could carry “firearms, ammunition, or similar articles in facilities containing explosives … except as required for work duties.”  This rule would make it impossible to operate any kind of gun store, firing range, or gunsmith shop. 

 

  • Employers would have to evacuate all employees when an electrical storm approaches a “facility containing explosives.”  This requirement would apply to all “facilities,” from a small country store that stocks a few boxes of hunting ammunition, to the largest mass-merchandise outlet such as Wal-Mart. 

 

  • Employers would have to ensure that “no open flames, matches, or spark producing devices are located within 50 feet (15.2 m) of explosives or facilities containing explosives.”  Neither small gun stores, nor “big box” retailers have any practical way to enforce this rule; realistically, a person smoking a cigarette outside a large concrete building can’t set fire to ammunition inside the building anyway.

 

  • Vehicles could not be “refueled within 50 feet (15.2 m) of a facility containing “explosives.”  Again, many gas stations and convenience stores in rural areas stock small quantities of ammunition; gas pumps outside don’t pose any danger to ammunition in the store.

 

The proposed rules on storage of small arms ammunition and components would also create problems for retailers.

 

  • The rule would require 25 feet of separation between small arms ammunition and all “flammable liquids, flammable solids, and oxidizing materials.”  As an even more impractical alternative, a dealer could construct a one-hour fire barrier wall.  Neither should be necessary, given the low level of hazard created by (for instance) a countertop display of gun oil near a supply of rifle or pistol cartridges.

 

  • The rule would also impose stricter limits on storage of smokeless powder than existing National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines require.  OSHA has presented no evidence that the existing NFPA standard is insufficient to protect workplace safety.

 

Finally, transportation provisions in the proposed rule would create similar problems.  For example, the rule would require shippers to notify “local fire and police departments” before transferring “explosives” between vehicles, and even to notify these agencies about vehicle breakdowns or collisions.  A fender-bender while delivering shotgun shells to a gun store hardly justifies this level of government involvement.  These provisions do not reflect standard practices in the shipping industry, and many carriers would probably refuse to ship ammunition under these rules. 

 

It’s important to remember this is only a proposed rule, so there’s still time for concerned citizens to speak out.  The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute will all file comments urging a major rewrite of these proposed regulations, based on the severe effect the proposed regulations (if finalized) would have on the availability of ammunition and reloading supplies to safe and responsible shooters.

 

The public comment period on OSHA’s proposal ends September 10, 2007.  To file a comment, or to learn more about the OSHA proposal, go to www.regulations.gov and search for Docket Number OSHA-2007-0032”; you can read OSHA’s proposal and learn how to submit comments electronically, or by fax or mail. 

 

 

To read a letter from Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and 31 other members of Congress to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao regarding the OSHA proposal, please visit http://www.nraila.org/images/oshaltr.pdf

 

TRENDING NOW
The View Doesn’t Appreciate a Right

News  

Monday, October 18, 2021

The View Doesn’t Appreciate a Right

Women, and especially black women, are increasingly buying firearms for self-defense. This reality did not sit well with the hosts of a somehow still-running daytime talk show.

NYSRPA Case Exposes Biden’s Anti-Second Amendment Bias, Vindicates Opposition to Garland

News  

Monday, October 18, 2021

NYSRPA Case Exposes Biden’s Anti-Second Amendment Bias, Vindicates Opposition to Garland

Further evidence of Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s contempt for the Second Amendment has emerged in recent weeks.

Virginia: Terry McAuliffe Wants to Ban Guns, Register Gun Owners, and Restrict Carry

News  

Monday, October 18, 2021

Virginia: Terry McAuliffe Wants to Ban Guns, Register Gun Owners, and Restrict Carry

Virginians are increasingly exercising their Second Amendment rights. NICS Checks in the commonwealth were up more than 60-percent from 2019 to 2020. From 2019 to 2021 there was a 21-percent increase in the number of ...

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

News  

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

The Biden Administration’s Department of State announced that it will soon prohibit the importation of Russian ammunition into the United States. According to a release on the Department of State’s website, “[n]ew and pending permit applications ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Final Brief Filed in Key Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court of the United States

Friday, October 15, 2021

Final Brief Filed in Key Second Amendment Case Before Supreme Court of the United States

The final reply brief has been filed in the NRA-ILA-supported case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. This was the final filing before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on November 3rd.

The Year of the Gun – Record Number of Carry Permits in 2020

News  

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Year of the Gun – Record Number of Carry Permits in 2020

Last year was one for the record books. Not only did gun sales climb to unprecedented highs, but 40 percent of all purchasers were first-time gun buyers, estimated to be some 8.4 million people.

DOJ Releases Biden Gun Confiscation Order Legislation

News  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

DOJ Releases Biden Gun Confiscation Order Legislation

DOJ has made clear that Garland’s selective definition of “civil rights” has no room for the Second Amendment...

Ohio: Senate Passes Emergency Powers Bill

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ohio: Senate Passes Emergency Powers Bill

Yesterday, the Senate voted 23-7 to pass Senate Bill 185, to guarantee that Second Amendment rights remain protected during emergencies.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.