No, ATF is not Banning Ammunition

Firearms Attorney Josh Prince has the rundown on the nitrocellulose reclassification, and it seems the statement in the newsletter was a mistake which ATF has since clarified. I had not reported on the supposed ammo ban until I could verify it was real, because something about it set off by “there’s more to this than people are saying” detector. It would seem there is no need to panic. These days, it’s very important to not believe everything you read on the Internet. There’s a lot of incentive to sensationalize these days. We have become what we once hated.

18 thoughts on “No, ATF is not Banning Ammunition”

  1. :-/ Um, from Prince Law, “If smokeless powders are now considered high explosives then [b]ammunition can no longer be sold on store shelves.[/b] Manufacturers need to completely redesign their operations, rebuilding their facilities and ensuring their personnel meet the stringent requirements. [b]Simply put, if ATF intends to enforce this new designation ammunition is going to be almost impossible to acquire.[/b]”

    So reading that I don’t see where it’s inaccurate to say that the ATF was banning ammunition, because that is precisely what they were doing.

    They aren’t doing it anymore, and likely because of the panicked and justified outcry about it.

    1. Read the rest of it. My understanding was this issue was cleared up privately before they did any formal release, and the formal release was only because the Internet started freaking out over it.

      1. The rest of it? There are only two more paragraphs and a quote that follow what I quoted, which can be summed up that the ATF screwed up and has fixed it.

        But at the end of the day the ATF was effectively banning ammunition. Which means what was read on the internet was true and was not in anyway sensationalized.

        That they’ve fixed their error, is helpful and useful information to have, it means we can put away the torches and pitchforks for the time being, and that fact should be shared.

  2. I really don’t know how the definitions in the regulations currently read, but it would seem to me that a “high explosive” should not be defined by what it is composed of, but in terms of its detonation wave-speed. Anything that does not detonate, or has a detonation wave-speed below a certain speed, should never be so classified. Energy per unit mass might also be included.

    There may be better technical definitions, but the point is, the definitions need to be technical and objective.

    1. ATF does not know how to do technical and objective. I was involved in experimental high powered rocketry for years and the garbage they pulled to reclassify low explosives to high explosives was, at times, comical. ATF had the Vermont state police try to detonate a slug of ammonium perchlorate. Would not go boom. Resorted to using det chord. Just made smaller pieces of AP. Then the time they burned up the van they were using to store and launch rockets. Then the time they had Schumerand Lautenburg claim that a model rocket (4 inches diameter, 5 feet long) could shoot down an airliner at 20,000 feet and kill a tank at 5 miles. I have the same kit. Used fiberglass reinforcement and extended the payload bay for electronics. Never got the beast above 7000 feet. And not guided.

        1. I believe at one point, potential terrorists tried to purchase large motors from Aerotech, but were refused.

      1. “ATF does not know how to do technical and objective.”

        That I can believe. However, I believe congress still retains the constitutional authority to impose regulations itself, when the regulators go goofy.

        This may seem like a small matter, but if we had friends in congress, they could attempt to replace the irrational with the rational.

        I don’t want to digress to any other specific issue, but it seems to me that motivated legislators who really care about other issues have been quite aggressive and successful at legislating small technical restrictions, one small step at a time. A little such energy applied to our issues, that they otherwise are so energetic orating about, would be refreshing.

    2. Absolutely.

      “Low explosive” has a definition, based on the rate of decomposition being lower than the speed of sound in that material.

      “High explosive” has the characteristic that it supports a detonation wave, and has a rate of combustion greater than the speed of sound, again in that material.

      cf. Practical Bomb Scene Investigation, Second Edition by James T. Thurman pp 5&6.

      ATF cannot be allowed to simply make it up as they go along.

      That way be dragons.

      1. In this case, though, that’s not even relevant – as far as I can tell, the US Code doesn’t actually care about the difference – see 18 USC 841, thus:

        (c) “Explosive materials” means explosives, blasting agents, and detonators.

        (d) Except for the purposes of subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), and (j) of section 844 of this title, “explosives” means any chemical compound mixture, or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion; the term includes, but is not limited to, dynamite and other high explosives, black powder, pellet powder, initiating explosives, detonators, safety fuses, squibs, detonating cord, igniter cord, and igniters.

        Note that the reason ammo is not banned or relegated to licensees is 18 USC 845(a)(4), which specifically exempts small arms ammunition and components.

        “High vs. low explosive” doesn’t really matter, since they’re both “explosives”, as they both “function by explosion”.

  3. The new “personal brand is everything” BS leads to every idiot trying to out Gawker Gawker with spurious sensationalized postings.

  4. This newsletter was no accident and it’s intent was clear.
    BATFEces issued a regulation to make ALL aspects of the use of Nitrocellulose, a key component of smokeless powder, prohibitively expensive due to the costs of meeting the ridiculous controls imposed. This would have the effect of driving most ammunition manufacturing out of business and causing the price of any remaining ammo to become beyond the reach of average people. This attempt is nothing but a bald faced attempt by criminals in power to impose via. A backdoor method the hoky grail of gun control by making ammunition unavailable. The criminals at BATFEces are doing the bidding of someone higher up. This attempt may be temporarily short-circuited but it is by no means ended. They WILL KEEP TRYING as long as this criminal rogue agency exists.

  5. I kind of freaked out at first but so does everyone else. But when things like this happen it take a step back and a breath and wait. I figured as time went on we would get more information about it and it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as people were claiming it to be.

    Some people out there are still thinking that this was a way to essentially ban the production of ammunition and therefore a total de facto gun ban and The only reason this was not implemented was because the ATF got caught with their pants down again.

  6. Of course the atf didn’t want to ban ammunition, all they wanted to do was change the rules(where have we seen THAT before)and make the storage of one of the primary precursors to the manufacture of ammunition much more difficult to handle by those manufacturers.
    And for those who believe that rule change WASN’T intended to put a hurt on the manufacture of ammo, you probably also believed the atf when it said that shoestrings are full-auto parts.

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