1. Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial “facilities containing explosives”. This is an obvious problem for your local gun store, as well as police departments.
2. Require evacuation of all “facilities containing explosives” during any electrical storm. This includes your local Wal-Mart if they carry ammunition, and your local Sheriff's office if they have ammunition storage.
3. Prohibit smoking within 50 feet of “facilities containing explosives.”
It’s important to remember this is only a proposed rule right now, so there’s still time for gun owners to voice concerns before OSHA issues its final rule. The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting 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 opportunity for public comment ends July 12. To file your own comment, or to learn more about the OSHA proposal, click here (pdf file) or go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and search for Docket Number OSHA-2007-0032. You can read OSHA’s proposal and learn how to submit comments electronically, or by fax or mail.
Update: OSHA has extended the comment period to 9/10/2007
OSHA Docket Office Docket No. OSHA-2007-0032 U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625 200 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20210
Re.: Docket No. OSHA-2007-0032 (Explosives—Proposed Rule)
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 proposed transportation regulations would also affect shooters’ ability to buy these components by mail or online, because shipping companies would also have great difficulty complying with the proposed rules.
There is absolutely no evidence of any new safety hazard from storage or transportation of small arms ammunition or components that would justify these new rules. I also understand that organizations with expertise in this field, such as the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Association, will be submitting detailed comments on this issue. I hope OSHA will listen to these organizations’ comments as the agency develops a final rule on this issue.
OSHA Docket Office
Docket No. OSHA–2007–0032
U.S. Department of Labor
Room N–2625 200
Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
RE: Docket No. OSHA–2007–0032
Request to Extend Public Comment Period and Request for Hearing on
“Significant Regulatory Action” as Defined in Executive Order 12866
Dear Secretary Chao:
I am writing to request an extension for public comment set to expire on July 12, 2007 for Preliminary & Initial General Observations on OSHA Explosives Proposed Rule (29 CFR Part 1910) - Published at Federal Register Vo. 72, No. 71, at P. 18792 (April 13, 2007).
After reviewing the proposed regulations it is my belief that the proposed rule is a "significant regulatory action" as defined in Executive Order 12866 (1993) Sec. 1(f)(1) in that it will clearly "adversely affect in a material way" the retail sector of the firearms and ammunition industry, productivity, competition and jobs and that the annual compliance cost for all retailers of ammunition will far exceed $100 million dollars.
Below is a bulleted list of what I am most concerned about:
• Massive Costs: The cost to comply with the proposed rule for the ammunition industry, including manufacturer, wholesale distributors and retailers, will be massive and easily exceed $100 million. For example, ammunition and smokeless propellant manufacturers would have to shut down and evacuate a factory when a thunderstorm approached. The proposal mistakenly states that this is an industry standard practice. A retailer would have to do likewise. Thus retailers, such as Wal-Mart, selling ammunition would have to close down and evacuate customers. This is simply not realistic.
• Exacerbate Ammunition Shortage to DoD and Law Enforcement: The proposed rule has major national security and homeland defense implications. There is already a shortage of ammunition for our troops and law enforcement. The Department of Defense has contracted to purchase ammunition from the commercial market because the Department's arsenal cannot meet demand. The rule will delay production and massively increase prices, making the ammunition shortage even more severe. In addition, the rule applies to the DoD arsenal, which is run by a commercial manufacturer under DoD contract.
• Unrealistic Assumptions: Portions of the proposed rule are not feasible and cannot realistically be complied with. The concept of evacuation to "a safe remote location" in case of thunderstorms or accident is untenable to manufacturers and retailers and is in disagreement with the DoD Safety Manual for Ammunition and Explosives.
• One Size Fits All Approach: The provisions in this proposal treat all explosives as if they have the same degree of hazard to employees. Retail outlets for small arms ammunition, primers and smokeless propellants, including massive facilities such as Wal-Mart, must maintain a fifty-foot barrier and specifically authorize all customers to enter only after searching them for matches or lighters (c.3.iii.A) and determining that they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol (c.1.vii). This is despite the fact that small arms ammunition is extremely safe even when subjected to open flame, heat and shock. A customer still wouldn’t be able to purchase the ammunition because under this rule they are not allowed to carry it from the counter to the exit (c.3.iii.C). Even more damaging, the many “mom and pop” firearm outlets located in strip malls would be forced to shutdown as they have neighbor stores fewer than 50-feet away.
• Shipping is Halted: Proposed restrictions on transportation exceed current DOT Regulations. Mandating wood-covered, non-spark-producing material in trailers for small arms ammunition shipments would bring the transportation of ammunition to a near halt. There are simply not enough trailers in existence today that would be able to substitute for traditional, metal covered surfaces. Small package carriers such as UPS and Fed-Ex would be prohibited from carrying ammunition and components which would shut down mail order houses such as Cabalas and Bass Pro shops and many business to business transactions. This section alone, with all it would entail (such as two drivers at all times), is capable of paralyzing our industry.
• National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Rules Exceeded: Proposed restrictions exceed NFPA regulations and would, for example, reduce commercial establishment displays of smokeless propellant from 50 to 20 lbs with no commensurate increase in safety. This will only add to dramatically increasing the cost to manufacturers and consumers.
It bears noting that scientific testing and safety records clearly illustrate that small arms ammunition is inherently an extremely safe product. I cannot recall a single instance where fire, shock, heat or lightening has resulted in injury from the accidental detonation of small-caliber ammunition. Billions of rounds of ammunition are sold each year in the U.S. and records demonstrate that current production and safety requirements are working.
I urge OSHA to grant an extension to this critical regulatory process.