Re: Senate Report for September 15, 2003 (Question on current law, Long)

But, the law as of May 24th requires an ATF permit for anyone
> purchasing or storing a rocket motor or fuel grain larger that 62.5 > grams.
This statement still confuses me and I have a quick question on
this...Then I have a longer statement afterwards. I would hope that
someone who is a lawyer or a judge would look at this and tell me that
either I am making sense or that what I say here is the pure
incomprehensible rantings of a crazy person.
Question: Can someone please quote me the law that says there is a
62.5gm exemption. Either the exact line in the USC, an NPRM, or a
court ruling (include link if possible)? I can't seem to find this
anywhere, and everyone keeps talking about it. I want to see
something that is concrete and on the books, not someone other than a
Judge's interpretation (and this includes ATF interpretation).
Now on to the longer statement.
This is mainly concerning the PAD exemption. The way I see it, there
are two possibilities (my computer science background kicking in).
1) Rocket motors are PAD exempt.
2) Rocket motors are not PAD exempt.
Case 1: IF the ATF picked you up for "possesion" of APCP or rocket
motors without an approved licence to store/posess/etc. and tried to
charge you, you could use the PAD exemption as your defense in court.
The ATF would have to prove that rocket motors/rocket propellents are
NOT PAD exempt, a difficult--if not impossible-- thing to do and
remember that the burden of proof lies on the accuser, unless there is
currently a law on the books, an interim/final rule, or a court ruling
to say that rocket motors are NOT PADs (please quote it if there is).
In this case it is legal to posess, store, sell, and use rocket motors
of any type until someone proves otherwise. Remember the "innocent
until proven guilty" edict in our justice system that sets it apart
from others.
Case 2: Assumption: there currently exists a law on the books, an
interim/final rule, or a court ruling saying that rocket motors are
not PAD exempt (please quote if there is). Now, in this case, APCP,
Black Power, etc. rocket motors would be illegal to posess, store,
etc. because those compounds are on the explosives list. Now enter
the 62.5 gram exemption. According to some, there is some etheral
"thing" that states that there is a 62.5 gram limit (total motor or
grain is irrelevent for the purpuses of this argument). If there is,
prove it to me. Quote me the exact line of the interim/final rule
where it states this (I have looked several times on the document on
the ATF website, and have not found ANY kind of weight limit or
exemption there pertaining to APCP or rocket motors). Quote me the
court ruling that states there is a 62.5 gram exemption. If there is
no PAD exemption, as stated by my assumption for this case, I want to
make sure that I cannot possibly break the law by purchasing a
composite E.
These two cases are mutually exlcusive. If Case 1 is true, then Case
2 doesn't matter. If Case 1 is false (please cite why) then Case 2
requires that a 62.5 gram exemption is on the books (cite the document
and line/page). If both are false, we're all in trouble.
Please post your replies with cites to current laws/NPRM/court cases.
I really would like to know what the law currently is concering PAD
COURT opinions or laws currently enacted. AFAIK, the ATF's opinion
does matter one whit unless they have a law on the books (in the form
of USC or interim/final nprm rules) or a past court ruling to back up
that opinion.
This post was based on my small knowledge of the way our legal system
works, and what I have gleaned from a few acquantinces who are
Thanks for your time and bandwidth.
Mike Gerszewski
NAR # 80579, Lvl 2
Reply to
Mike Gerszewski
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mike: Most states have adopted NFPA 1122/25/27...if this is the case then = 62.5 g is at the heart of all of the NFPA is law in those = states.....Notice I said State and not Federal Law... Not all states have adopted the above NFPA 1122/25/27, Kalipornia is = one......
The only current Federal Law that I am aware of has to do with the 62.5 = g exemption limit is offered by the CSPC ..... to wit: "Sec. 1500.85 Exemptions from classification as banned hazardous = substances. (a) The term banned hazardous substances as used in section=20 2(q)(1)(A) of the act shall not apply to the following articles provided =
that these articles bear labeling giving adequate directions and = warnings for safe use:
(8) Model rocket propellant devices designed for use in light-weight, recoverable, and reflyable model rockets, provided such devices: (i) Are designed to be ignited by electrical means. (ii) Contain no more than 62.5 grams (2.2 ounces) of propellant material and produce less than 80 newton-seconds (17.92 pound seconds) of total impulse with thrust duration not less than 0.050 second. (iii) Are constructed such that all the chemical ingredients are preloaded into a cylindrical paper or similarly constructed nonmetallic tube that will not fragment into sharp, hard pieces. (iv) Are designed so that they will not burst under normal conditions of use, are incapable of spontaneous ignition, and do not contain any type of explosive or pyrotechnic warhead other than a small parachute or recovery system activation charge.
(9) Separate delay train and/or recovery system activation devices intended for use with premanufactured model rocket engines wherein all of the chemical ingredients are preloaded so the user does not handle any chemical ingredient and are so designed that the main casing or container does not rupture during operation.
Sec. 1500.83 Exemptions for small packages, minor hazards, and special = circumstances (36) Individual toy rocket propellant devices and separate delay=20 train and/or recovery system activation devices intended for use with=20 premanufactured model rocket engines are exempt from bearing the full=20 labeling required by section 2(p)(1) of the act (repeated in Sec. 1500.3(b)(14)(i)) insofar=20 as such requirements would be necessary because the articles are=20 flammable or generate pressure, provided that: (i) The devices are designed and constructed in accordance with the=20 specifications in Sec. 1500.85(a) (8) or (9): (ii) Each individual device or retail package of devices bears the=20 following: (A) The statement ``WARNING--FLAMMABLE: Read instructions before=20 use''; (B) The common or usual name of the article; (C) A statement of the type of engine and use classification; (D) Instructions for safe disposal; and (E) Name and place of business of manufacturer or distributor; and (iii) Each individual rocket engine or retail package of rocket=20 engines distributed to users is accompanied by an instruction sheet=20 bearing complete cautionary labeling and instructions for safe use and=20 handling of the individual rocket engines.
I would argue that all the CSPC definition applies to is those under 18 = and that it is an exemption for model rocket motors from the Banned = Hazardous Substances act.......nothing more or less.... The BATFE is = totally incorrect when they base their "proposed" 62.5g limit on the = above.....
The USPS aslo has a 62.5 g exemeption for mailing model rocket = engines...But again, this is an exemption for MAILING such model rocket = engines through the US mails...
to wit:
341.22 Mailable Explosives
The following specific types of explosives may be mailed only when the
applicable conditions are met. Full responsibility rests with the mailer = to
comply with DOT and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
regulations before mailing.
a. Toy Propellant Devices. The proper shipping name for a toy propellant
device is "model rocket motor" or "igniters." A toy propellant device
assigned UN0454 or NA0323 and classed as a Division 1.4S explosive
is eligible for mailing in domestic mail via surface transportation only
when prior written permission has been obtained from the Manager,
Business Mail Acceptance, USPS Headquarters, Washington, DC. A
device approved for mailing is subject to the following conditions:
(1) Each device must be ignitable by electrical means only; contain
no more than 62.5 g (2.23 oz) of propellant; and produce less
than 80 newton seconds of total impulse with thrust duration not
less than 0.050 second.
(2) Each device must be constructed so that all chemical ingredients
are preloaded into a cylindrical paper or similarly constructed
nonmetallic tube that does not fragment into sharp, hard pieces;
must be designed so that it will not burst under normal conditions
of use; must be incapable of spontaneous ignition under 500=B0 F;
and must not contain any type of explosive or pyrotechnic
warhead other than a small, activation-charge parachuterecovery
(3) Each mailpiece containing approved devices must be prepared
for mailing following Packaging Instruction 1A in Appendix C. A
shipper's declaration for dangerous goods is required.
The only federal law that actually has a propellant size exemption is = the FAA FAr 101 regualtions, and there they use 4 oz....113 = go figure why the ATF picked the CSPC 62.5 g limit and not the FAA = 113/125 g limit
What is killing us is the fact that our own organizations have pushed = for 62.5 g since 1968 vis the NFPA codes......and now the BATFE is using = our own ignorance against us.....
Its my understanding that the SEA only required instate permits for = purchasing and storing and transporting explosives instate.... It has = nothing to do with any 62.5 gr limit as far as I am aware....either = Bunny misspoke or it was a freudian slip....take your pick......
shockie B)
Reply to
AND Gary Rosenfield, NAR and TRA WROTE most of NFPA codes as they stand now and have the full power and authority to change them.
How about exemptions not rules?
Merely Jerry
Fully correct.
NAR/TRA/Rosenfield handed it to them on a silver platter for ADULTS vis the NARMRSC and NFPA-1122.
NAR/TRA/Rosenfield are morons.
P R E C I S E L Y ! !
Jerry to Earth, Jerry to Earth please come in. I have been trying to say this for a decade now. In letters, web postings, usenet postings and email to the relevent NFPA committee memebrs.
Please come in . . . .
Killfiled again :)
P R E C I S E L Y ! !
You sir are paying attention!! You get the gold star. You may exchange it for a starburner at any Irvine launch.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
Problem is, the _legal_ burden of proof may lie with the accuser, but the _actual_ burden is entirely on the accused in the form of time and money needed to win in court.
Reply to
See the page I put together earlier this year when I was learning more about this than I really wanted to:
formatting link

The condensed version is that there is currently no exemption for any rocket motor in the regulations (unless you believe in the PAD exemption: Jerry says "yes", the ATF says "no") because those "experts" at the ATF screwed up in 1998.
Follow up by reading the court documents on the Tripoli web pages. You can read the ATF arguements in the court case.
Reply to
David Schultz
Please note that to be eligible, the motor MUST be classified as division 1.4S. No motor/propellant grain with more than 30 grams of propellant will get this classification. It gets 1.4C.
Although the USPS manual mentions 62.5 grams, it is only in the context of regurgitating the definition of a model rocket motor. The controlling limitation is 1.4S.
shockwaveriderz wrote:
Note that the 62.5 gram limitation is only on what is called a model rocket motor.
There is a dividing line between model and high power rocketry and this seems like a reasonable value to me. But that doesn't mean that this should be the dividing line for ATF involvment.
Reply to
David Schultz
Maybe but a division 4.1 Flammable Solid classified item is also mailable. Should a motor be classified in a hazard class associated with its actual hazard it would be either unregulated entirely (no limit), or 4.1 (USPS has a 1 pound per grain limit), or if it has an ejection installed then that portion makes it 1.4s. By making the ejection a separate part or kit allows you to ship a properly classified motor as a collection of 1.4s under 30g ejection charges, 4.1 under 1 pound grains and 0.0 no limit grains. The 4.1 threshold is 2.2mm/s ambient burning rate.
USPS has a different jurisdiction and criterion than ATF or DOT.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
The ATF says yes too:
27 CFR 55.11, "Propellant Actuated Device. Any tool or special mechanized device or gas generator system which is actuated by a propellant or which releases and directs work through a propellant charge."
55.141 exemptions (a) (8) Gasoline, fertilizers, propellant actuated devices, or propellant actuated industrial tools manufactured, imported, or distributed for their intended purposes.
The ATF says yes too:
formatting link
page 10 (page 62 of the "Orange Book")
66. Who must meet storage requirements? All persons who store explosive materials must store them in conformity with the provisions of Subpart K of the regulations, unless the person or the materials are exempt from regulation. [18 U.S.C. 842(j), 845; 27 CFR 55.29, 55.141, 55.164, 55.201(a)]
The ATF says yes too:
formatting link
It is NOT a simple matter of ATF vs Jerry Irvine. It is ATF rulings over decades against a short-term ATF litigation position of late. One that makes no sense at all.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
In fact, the 1990 version of the Orange Book in the question and answer section SPECIFICALLY referenced 55.141 as the reason that rocket motors were NOT considered explosives. This question was removed in the Y2K edition, but there was no basis for any regulation change here. Changing regs without going through the NPRM process is one of the cornerstones of the lawsuit.
In fact, the current BATF regs are very size and chemistry neutral. There is no 62.5g limit. There is no distinction between BP, APCP, or other propellant. The only way it can be interpreted is that either ALL rocket motors (from Estes to Animal Works) are PADs and exempt, or ALL are regulated. Since 55.141 exempts PADs, and I don't see them raiding Michaels, WalMart, ToysRus, etc., I've got to assume that they are all exempt.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
I would like to thank everyone who posted cited information. I was holding out for someone to post a legal case that covered something even close to our current situation, but sadly, it seems that no one knows about any such legal decisions.
It seems readily apparant that either there is a recognized PAD exemption (by Federal Prosecutors and/or ATF), or many rocketeers would be in jail at this time. This view comes from the fact that there is no exemption on the books that anyone has posted other than the PAD exemption.
Another quick comment on something just recently realized. The ATF/Military/DHS can't overreact. It is their job to "find" the possible threats, no matter how remote or physically impossible. They have to find the "threats" to continue to get funding. It is up to CONGRESS to decide what to do with those purported threats. The way our system is set up assumes that our elected officials will actually research those "threats" instead of believing what the ATF/DOJ says outright, which sadly doesn't seem to be happening.
Thanks again for the replies on the original question.
Mike Gerszewski NAR # 80579, Lvl 2
Reply to
Mike Gerszewski

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