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
Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Control Supporters Race to Embarrass Themselves Following OSU Stabbing Attack

Guinness World Records may refuse to acknowledge feats pertaining to the lawful exercise of right to keep and bear arms, but how about a world record for most shameless attempt to politicize tragedy? The competition would ...

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Home Defense - Mastering Bushes vs. Bushmasters

A while back, we wrote about an inane NBC Today Show segment that recommended homeowners rely on car keys and wasp spray to defend themselves against burglars and other home invaders. A former New York ...

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

DNC Chair Frontrunner Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is an Anti-Second Amendment Radical

It appears that those gun rights supporters hoping that the leaders of the Democratic Party would engage in a moment of self-reflection following their historic defeat in the 2016 election may be left wanting. Despite ...

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gun Sales Deny Critics, Set Record on Black Friday

With the election of Donald Trump in early November, many mainstream news sources predicted a substantial downturn in gun sales. Some even claimed that Trump’s victory would cause slower sales on Black Friday, which is ...

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California: Bullet Button Guns Must be Purchased and Received by Dec 31st

Recently the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms sent out a notice to California firearms dealers with information regarding the recently passed “assault weapon” legislation, SB880 and AB 1135.

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

News  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Elites Reserve the Right to Decree What is "Fake" and What is "News"

Legacy media corporations like the New York Times and Washington Post have big problems right now. Consumption of their product is dropping. Public confidence in them has tanked. And in front of the nation and the world, they blew ...

New Jersey:  Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Jersey: Urgent! Legislation Puts Shooting Ranges in Crosshairs

Shooting ranges as we know them may be a thing of the past if anti-gun politicians have their way in the Garden State.  A pair of dangerous bills are scheduled in the Assembly Law & ...

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

News  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Eleventh Hour Changes to Federal Firearm Form

In what will hopefully be one of the final acts of the Obama Administration on firearms, the ATF on Monday announced that its proposed changes to the Form 4473 would go into effect on January ...

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Illinois: Update on Suppressor Legalization Legislation

Senate Bill 206, legislation which would legalize the possession and use of suppressors in Illinois was not brought up for consideration today.  However, this important pro-gun bill could be brought up for consideration at any time and your ...

Peruta Case is Supreme Court Bound -- Help Bring Shall Issue to California

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Peruta Case is Supreme Court Bound -- Help Bring Shall Issue to California

Now that we have secured a big win in the presidential election, NRA is working with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) to take the Peruta case to the U.S. Supreme Court and bring ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.