Earlier this summer, ATF released an Explosives Industry Newsletter that changed the agency’s treatment of nitrocellulose, the primary component in smokeless powders used in modern ammunition. This change had the potential to seriously disrupt ammunition supply in the United States because it changed a long-standing ATF policy that exempted properly “wetted” nitrocellulose from treatment as an explosive under federal law.
NRA and industry raised these concerns to ATF and any change in ATF’s treatment of nitrocellulose is now officially delayed. In an addendum to the earlier newsletter, ATF announced that it “will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected.”
While the addendum doesn’t indicate that ATF has permanently abandoned this change to nitrocellulose regulation, smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation, at least for the time being. NRA will continue to work to ensure that any future change to nitrocellulose regulation will not affect ammunition supply.