On Friday, April 16, Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced that ATK—the defense conglomerate that operates the Army’s Lake City ammunition plant, and that owns the Federal ammunition, RCBS reloading equipment, and Alliant smokeless gunpowder companies—is voluntarily withdrawing from contracts it made with military bases to collect and scrap once-fired small arms cartridge cases. The scrapping of the cases became an issue several weeks ago, when it was determined to be partially responsible for reducing the quantity of intact cartridge cases sold to companies that use them to produce reloaded ammunition for sale to private individuals.
ATK’s decision follows, by about two weeks, a letter sent by the two senators to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), asking its chief to determine whether the scrapping of the brass complied with the 2010 DOD Appropriations Bill (Section 8019 of Public Law 111-118) prohibiting the use of federal funds to demilitarize or destroy once-fired small arms cartridge cases.
Senators Baucus and Tester advised the DLA, “The intent of this law is to ensure once-fired small arms cartridge cases are made available intact in the open market. We are concerned that certain installation contracts with private entities for the sale of once-fired small arms cartridge cases … may not be in compliance with this law.”
A separate federal law, passed in the 1990s, authorizes military installations that have Qualified Recycling Programs to scrap fired cartridge cases and a wide variety of other government property. Therefore, in the days to come, NRA-ILA will continue working with Senators Baucus and Tester, and other members of Congress, to determine what, if any, adjustments are necessary to resolve any underlying problems that might interrupt the availability of the cartridge cases in the future.
A fact sheet on Senator Tester’s website further illuminates the two senators’ appreciation of the contribution that reloaded ammunition manufacturers make to promoting the right to keep and bear arms. The fact sheet also includes the text of the letter that the two senators sent to the DLA.
NRA members are encouraged to thank Senators Baucus and Tester for once again quickly taking steps to ensure the availability of the cartridge cases to reloaders. Last year, when a bureaucratic glitch led to a temporary suspension in the sale of the cases, the senators quickly communicated their concerns to the DLA, which contributed to the government’s decision to reclassify the cartridge cases so that their sale could be resumed. A summary of last year’s circumstances is available here.
Contact information for Senator Baucus can be found here. Senator Tester can be reached by e-mail here.