“The rumor is circulating that new federal regulations/reclassification of Wetted Nitrocellulose by ATF will put an end to domestic smokeless powder production in the U.S.,” Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) asserts in a press release. “This is both true and not true.” Here’s the ATF’s announcement:
ATF’s June 2016 Explosives Industry Newsletter included a brief discussion of Nitrocellulose, and attempted to clarify the circumstances under which wetted Nitrocellulose is considered a high explosive under 27 CFR, Part 555. As with all explosives, ATF’s focus is on the potential public safety risks associated with materials that can be misused or diverted to unlawful purposes.
Subsequent contact from industry members who import, transport, store or employ wetted Nitrocellulose in the production of ammunition, however, has brought to our attention issues that were not fully addressed in the Newsletter and require further consultation and consideration with the industry.
Accordingly, ATF has and will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected.
The MSSA’s statement continues:
The BATFE proposed a new regulation for the storage, transportation and documentation of “wetted nitrocellulose,” which is a precursor for manufacture of smokeless powder. This proposed regulation would make compliance so difficult and expensive that it could cut off domestic production.
However, because of industry input about the possible consequences of this proposed regulation, the BATFE has decided to withdraw it for further consideration. It could still happen, but for now it’s on hold.
One concern is that this proposal and Internet attention to it could spark a consumer run on smokeless powder and ammunition.
Demand for powder and ammo is still a couple of orders of magnitude (or more) more elastic than the supply side can accommodate. So, this could create another run on finite supplies.
Those who follow Montana Shooting Sports Association legislative activity know that we got our Ammunition Availability Act passed into law in 2015. The AAA was/is to encourage the manufacture of smokeless powder, small arms primers, and cartridge brass in Montana.
We launched this legislative effort mostly because there are only two producers of smokeless powder in the U.S. – all other smokeless we consume here is imported and subject to administrative control by the U.S. State Department.
We wanted to both encourage smokeless production in Montana, and to set a model for how that could be done in other states all across the U.S., to make our Right to Keep and Bear Arms less vulnerable to political interruption of powder supplies.
Stay tuned for more info about this …
About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org