This week, by a unanimous voice vote, an NRA-backed amendment was added to the House Armed Services Committee's National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5136) that will ensure serviceable and once-fired small arms cartridge cases are available for commercial sale.
The Ellsworth amendment, offered by U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), compels military bases to sell small arms ammunition and ammunition components intact – meaning not demilitarized for scrap -- as long as these items aren't "unserviceable or unsafe."
"This is a significant victory for law-abiding sportsmen, especially during these trying economic times. Reloaded ammunition costs considerably less, and military-sourced spent brass cases are of the calibers most widely used for marksmanship training and competition by civilians," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "Also, with widespread ammunition shortages, the passage of this amendment will be well received by NRA members, gun owners and ammunition suppliers."
Last year a bureaucratic glitch led to the Department of Defense temporarily suspending sales of once-fired cartridge cases. Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D) quickly conveyed to the Defense Logistics Agency their judgment that "the destruction of fired brass is unwarranted and has far reaching implications," including its "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."
Recently, NRA-ILA again recognized a loophole that would prevent the sale of surplus small arms cartridge casings and contacted Senators Baucus and Tester to request further review, and to determine the best way to assure continued availability to Americans who buy the cases for resale and reloading. Jointly, Senators Baucus and Tester determined that further steps should be taken, "to ensure that all interested buyers have the opportunity to purchase once-fired small arms cartridge cases."
"Serviceable and safe military spent brass cases should be made available for commercial sale, because these cases are reloaded and developed for civilian use, and are a revenue source for military bases," concluded Cox. "I'd like to thank Brad Ellsworth for his leadership to find a permanent solution to this issue, and I am also grateful for the efforts of amendment cosponsors Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)."