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Old 07-12-2007, 11:10 PM
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Default Work rules could blow up ammunition supplies

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OSHA considering new requirements for handling 'explosives'

Posted: July 7, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007

The federal government is considering a series of new rules that would apply to workplaces where "explosives" are handled, giving rise to a concern that the restrictions could be used to limit – or eliminate – reasonable access to firearms ammunition.

Among those raising the issue is the National Rifle Association, which is publicizing a request that firearms owners express their opinion on the issue before a deadline of July 12.

"The proposed rule indiscriminately treats ammunition, powder and primers as 'explosives,'" the NRA said in a published statement, which noted the plan would:

(Story continues below)

Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial "facilities containing explosives"—an obvious problem for your local gun store.

Require evacuation of all "facilities containing explosives"—even your local Wal-Mart—during any electrical storm.

Prohibit smoking within 50 feet of "facilities containing explosives."
The proposal by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "would have a dramatic effect on the storage and transportation of ammunition and handloading components such as primers or black and smokeless powder," the group said.

OSHA's proposal would "revise" its standards for "explosives and blasting agents" to include ammunition.

"This revision … is intended to enhance the protections provided to employees engaged in the manufacture, storage, sale, transportation, handling, and use of explosives," the federal agency said.

The NRA noted that it is important to note the rule – at this point – still is "proposed."

"So there's still time for concerned citizens to speak out before OSHA issues its final rule. The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sport Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute will all be commenting on these proposed regulations, based on the severe effect these regulations (if finalized) would have on the availability of ammunition and reloading supplies to safe and responsible shooters," the NRA said.

One WND reader described the situation as the "backdoor elimination of firearms," noting that Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., all are on the OSHA oversight committee.

"If you want to keep your guns we had better raise more hell than the amnesty bill caught," the writer said. "Make sure your congressman hears about this or you won't have any ammo."

The NRA said those who are interested in commenting should go to the website and do a search for Docket Number OSHA-2007-0032.

Another reader suggested contacting firearms industry connections and ask them to contact the Department of Defense.

"My reasoning being if the arms industry loses its civilian market that will have a very large negative financial impact on them. This could negatively impact their ability to adequately meet the needs of DOD. So, DOD would have a very vested interest in telling OSHA to put a lid on it," he wrote.

The NRA even provided a sample letter for concerned citizens to complete and forward.

I am writing in strong opposition to OSHA's proposed rules on "explosives," which go far beyond regulating true explosives. These proposed rules would impose severe restrictions on the transportation and storage of small arms ammunition—both complete cartridges and handloading components such as black and smokeless powder, primers, and percussion caps. These restrictions go far beyond existing transportation and fire protection regulations.
As a person who uses ammunition and components, I am very concerned that these regulations will have a serious effect on my ability to obtain these products. OSHA's proposed rules would impose restrictions that very few gun stores, sporting goods stores, or ammunition dealers could comply with. (Prohibiting firearms in stores that sell ammunition, for example, is absurd—but would be required under the proposed rule.)

The issue was sparked by a petition several years ago from the Institute of Makers of Explosives and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute to revise OSHA standards.

That requested a number of changes, including the exclusion of the manufacturers of explosives from various requirements that were duplicative.

"In response …, OSHA carefully reviewed the requirements," and concluded that "workplace hazards associated with explosives activities pose significant risks to employees."

Thus, the new list of rules. As substantiation, OSHA cited the April 16, 1947, explosion of the SS Grandcamp, which was docked in Texas City, Texas, when its cargo full of ammonium nitrate blew up. The explosion killed 581 and injured 5,000 others.

One of the more esoteric requirements would be for employers "to ensure that adequate precautions are taken to prevent sources of induced current, such as … snow storms, … from causing the accidental detonation of electric blasting caps."

A vast range of other requirements would address building requirements, distances between storage areas, vehicles used to haul any such material, and even the distance (two feet) required between shelves for small arms ammunition.

Gun advocates say it's just another in a long list of attacks on the American right to bear arms, provided under the 2nd Amendment.

As WND reported just a week earlier, the government has begun using paperwork errors as small as the abbreviation of a city name to shut down some of the nation's longest-serving gun shops.

Officials said while as recently as 15 or 20 years ago, there were 250,000 licensed gun dealers in the United States, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives today lists only 108,381.
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