Justice Department Inspector General Report on BATFE iimplementation of Safe Explosives Act

http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/inspection/ATF/e0505/final.pdf
Warning: 125 page, 6MB document
BATFE response to report:
http://www.atf.gov/press/fy05press/040405oisafexpact.htm

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David W. Schultz
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David Schultz wrote:

Oh my, this is juicy stuff. I have just barely started reading it and I find:
"During a June 2002 congressional hearing, the Acting ATF Director testified that a library of explosives information is essential to ATF's ability to prevent and solve bombings and to trace explosive materials used in terrorist activities and other violent crimes by matching residue with the manufacturers samples."
"However, during our review, we determined that the ATF had only used its authority to collect explosives samples one time to collect a model rocket motor. The ATF had not collected any samples of ammonium nitrate. Moreover, the National Laboratory had only recently developed a systematic approach for collecting, analyzing, and cataloging samples of explosives."
This just reinforces the theory that the BATFE misused their new power in order to collect "samples" for something other than the purposes provided for in law.
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I have to admit that IS really good.
It declares those samples "model rocket motors".

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Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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I would cheerfully submit samples to NL of APCP to determine if they are explosives or not.
Jerry
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Maybe somebody should sue them or something.
www.saverocketrynow.com
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Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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Yup. They ATTEMPTED to use the samples, not to show that APCP is explosive, but that HPR should be regulated by the DOT instead of the BATFE.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
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David Schultz wrote:

I
developed a

of
power
Wow, they are really fixated on us. They don't bother with materials used to make real bombs in real criminal acts which have killed hundreds. Yet they have plenty of time to demand "samples" of model rocket motors and harass a handful of innocent hobbyists.
s
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I told you so.
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Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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Jerry Irvine wrote:

Actually jerry, you have never ever said anything like the above scenario, ever.
In fact, in previous posts, you claim that the ATF agrees with your interpretations of federal law.
you have also claimed you have attended ATF christmas parties and laughed with the ATF agents at the stupidity of both the TRA and NAR.
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Dave Grayvis wrote:

I remember a conference call with DOT where laughter and comments about the stupidity of an individual shipping 200lb of class one hazmat, (rocket motors), labeled as "model airplane parts", resulting in a $40 gran fine to the business with employee count of less than two (2) individuals. Also during that call, it was mentioned by one DOT official; "the actions of this one individual probably closed the door on DOT relaxing any of the present regulations or shipping exemptions as applied to the shipment of hobby rocket motors".
I wonder what else "big fine" has done for the hobby lately?? (:-(
Fred
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Okay, I finally downloaded and skimmed it. What I find even more interesting is that INDUSTRY (not just us) has problems with the inconsistencies from agent-to-agent -- and that there is no real plan to solve this.
David Erbas-White
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And for those of us too lazy to search through it ourselves, the relevant portions are???
David Erbas-White
David Schultz wrote:

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David Erbas-White wrote:

Low points. (Or high depending on your point of view.)
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) takes the BATFE to task for its woefull efforts at conducting background checks. The BATFE is apparantly not getting them all done amongst other problems.
The BATFE justified moving the explosives licensing operations from Atlanta based on their estimates of the flood of permit applications resulting from the Safe Explosives Act (SEA). Which never appeared. The current number of licensees is given as 12,152. Apparantly, those who could, hired contractors to handle their explosives work. So the BATFE has a new facility which still isn't handling all of the licensing activity and has no concrete plan for completing the process.
The basic gist of this part is that the BATFE isn't doing its job to make sure that evil prohibited persons don't gain access to explosives.
One of the sections deals with the issue of "Inadequate training for ATF Inspectors has resulted in a lack of explosives product knowledge and inconsistent regulatory enforcement." Which is certainly something that we have experienced. One of the examples given is of a garage suddenly becoming an "inhabited building" after not being one during 20 years of previous inspections.
Then they take the BATFE to task for making such a big deal out of explosives samples and then only collecting one sample. Of _a_ model rocket motor. (Yes, the OIG used the singular form.)We all know how that turned out although the OIG makes no mention of what happened. Best to keep such embarassments hidden I guess.
Then there comes the scary section. The OIG identified several other issues including: "The lack of ATF authority to regulate ammonium nitrate and some commonly used explosives,"
That concludes the executive summary part of the report.
In reading the body of the actual report I notice a few things. One is that the OIG apparantly didn't talk with anyone in the rocket hobby because they say:
"On the whole, every industry group we spoke with said the SEA was an important step toward increasing security. Group members said that they did not object to the new categories of prohibited persons created by the SEA and had few specific problems with the interim rule developed and published by the ATF. The group members stated that the ATF s licensing process did not disrupt their operations and that explosives licensees were generally informed about the SEA s requirements."
The report also discusses the mess the BATFE made of the explosives transportation business. I find it interesting that the complete shut down of explosives transportation by common carrier was characterized as voluntary.
The new limited permit is wildly unpopular. Only 416 were issued between May and Sept. 2003.
Hmmm. A BATFE official says... "He further stated that some Inspectors do not understand the rulemaking process. For example, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the ATF prior to the SEA has been cited prematurely by Inspectors on numerous occasions as an in-force regulation."
I wonder which NPRM that was? My money is on number 968. Perhaps this explains the change in status of that garage as the BATFE proposed changing the definition there.
Back to the "other issues". This looks like the OIG thinks that regulating ammonium nitrate as an explosive is a good thing. It mentions the Ammonium Nitrate Security Act. Which has been reintroduced in this session of Congress.
The OIG also raises the exemption on up to 50 pounds of back powder as an issue. Since it will require an act of Congress and catching the NRA napping, I don't think this "issue" has much traction. And if you are gloating about using Pyrodex for ejection charges and not being effected by this, the OIG also takes aim at smokeless powder.
Amazingly, the OIG thinks that government agencies being exempt from explosives law isn't a good thing. At least as far as BATFE inspection of storage facilities goes. It mentions a now defunct bill, H.R. 5162, the "Law Enforcement Explosives Storage Enhancement Act." Except that I looked up that bill and it only applied to state and local government. The feds remain exempt.
It concludes this section (other issues) with
"We believe the ATF should critically consider the legislative proposals and coordinate with the Department s Office of Legislative Affairs on the Department s position with regard to these proposals."
The report is followed by comments from the BATFE on the report. And comments by the OIG on the comments.
The overall tone of the report is that the BATFE should work harder to keep "explosives" out of the hands of evil people and should even work to increase their regulatory reach to include black powder, smokeless powders, and ammonimum nitrate fertilizer.
What it looks like to me is that the BATFE isn't capable of handling the job they have now (manpower, budget, and management issues) but in spite of that, the OIG thinks the BATFE should be regulating even more materials. Typical.
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David Schultz wrote:

is
an
they
explosives
I'd be curious to know how many "industry groups" they actually spoke with, as well as how many other people who've been affected by SEA and ATF.

as
LOL! Only a DC bureaucrat could be so delusional as to consider that "voluntary".

Apparently the OIG shares with ATF the notion that they can simply declare anything an explosive and start regulating it.

this
So to support their contention that ATF should regulate AN, they refer to something that hasn't yet been passed into law -- more DC thinking at work here.

proposals
So now they're recommending that the ATF lobby for legislation? I guess the fact that doing so is illegal means nothing.

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Let's see, I seem to recall seeing a list in there somewhere...
Here it is: International Society of Explosives Engineers, Institude of Makers of Explosives, and the American Pyrotechnics Association.

No, they seem to think that letting _anyone_ buy AN without a BATFE permit is a bad thing. And then point to the legislation as something that would fix this 'problem'. Which isn't really a practical problem where I live. I can't find AN. I wonder how much of a stink I would create by going into any garden center I can find and asking for AN?

Not lobby exactly. Work with the Office of Legislative Affairs within the DOJ. What they actually do is another question.
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so for their explosives database, instead of going through the member lists of those 3 "big" organizations who reprewsents scores if not 100's of companies, they only went to Aerotech Rocketry?
that is amazing and shocking news
shockie B)
wrote:

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And verifiably true.

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Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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David Schultz wrote:

One
hobby
was
spoke
of
I bet they didn't talk to any hobby groups, or farmers, or any of the people who would be affected by their proposal to regulate AN, BP and smokeless powder.
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Probably only those that already have licenses for using the stuff.
Perhaps they should concentrate on regulating what is actually used to make bombs, providing that it actually meets the congresses definition of an explosive. Start with Gasoline :-)
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
    Homeland Security Administration: The Gestapo of the 21st Century
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kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

That's why they had to include it in 27 CFR 555.141-a-8

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