This message will report on the BATFE?s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on the definition of propellant actuated devices (PADS)and our October 17 hearing in US District Court.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
On August 11, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to state that hobby rocket motors are not propellant actuated devices (PADS). If accepted as a final rule after public notice and comment, HPR rocket motors would be subject to all applicable licensing and controls under Federal explosives law, the legally promulgated regulations, and ATF policy rulings.
You can download the full text of the proposed rule, including information telling you where to file your comments atIT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, BOTH FOR THIS PROPOSED RULE, AND FOR OUR ONGOING LITIGATION EFFORT THAT ALL MEMBERS COMMENT OPPOSING THIS NPRM.
We have reviewed the NPRM with counsel and offer the following suggestions for making responses:
- Airbag manufacturers have been treated differently re: a PADS determination. In their June 1997, the ATF states that airbag manufacturers must have an explosive manufacturing license, yet state in the NPRM that airbags are PADS.
- There are no clear technical standards for previous PADS classifications listed in the NPRM.
- Congress did not specify that mechanism, metal work or inclusion in, exclusion from or stand alone was a requirement for PADS.
- ATF has not established a clear process for application, review, adjudication and appeal for parties seeking a PADS definition for their devices.
- Rocket motors, as used in practice, have parallel operation similar to other devices, listed by BATFE as PADS. Other devices function as part of a larger whole, and rely on other interacting components, just as rocket motors do.
- ATF has previously exempted equivalent rocket motors used in aircraft safety systems from regulation. Details on these systems can be found at
- The proposed regulation will have impacts per the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, adversely affecting United States-based companies? ability to compete abroad.
Public comments are due not later than November 9, 2006, and must be delivered in writing to:
James P. Ficaretta, Program Manager Room 5250 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives P.O. Box 50221 Washington, DC 20091-0221
ATTN: ATF 9P.
Written comments must include your mailing address and be signed, and may be of any length.
We invite members to provide us with additional suggestions, ideas and approaches, along with references to any other written material they may discover in researching their response to the NPRM. As we compile those suggestions, we?ll issue an additional message to members outlining these additional approaches.
October 17, 2006 Court Hearing
This hearing is one in a series of status conferences before the US District Court. As its stated purpose is for BATFE to report on progress it has made regarding its testing of APCP and reporting of those tests, counsel does not expect the Court to issue any rulings or orders based on this hearing. The most likely outcome from the hearing is for the Court to schedule both parties to submit cross motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether or not APCP functions by explosion. We would caution members against further speculation about the possible outcomes from this hearing, and will report on the hearing within a week of its conclusion.
We appreciate your strong financial support for this important legal work. As we head into this critical October hearing, with our case still pending and hanging in the balance, we hope you will continue to consider donating in whatever amount you can to the Legal Defense Fund. Your support and generosity will be recognized and acknowledged, and you'll be able to say "I supported the fight for an unregulated sport rocket hobby."
When we have further developments, we'll continue to report them here and in our publications.
Mark Bundick, President National Association of Rocketry
Ken Good, President Tripoli Rocketry Association