Multiple red flags shot up early this week when leading firearms and ammunitions manufacturers and trade organizations became aware of a series of regulations proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency charged with assuring the safety and health of American workers.
At the heart of the potentially dangerous regulations is OSHA’s indiscriminate definition of ammo, powder and primers as “explosives.”
If implemented, industry representatives say the new rules could have a dramatic effect on the storage and transportation of ammo and reloading components, including primers and black and smokeless gunpowder.
Among the many provisions, the proposed rule changes would:
Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial “facilities containing explosives,” thus creating an obvious dilemma for all types and sizes of gun and sporting goods stores.
Prohibit delivery drivers from leaving “explosives” unattended, preventing services such as UPS and Fed-Ex from delivering ammo or gunpowder to individuals or dealers—while effectively destroying the online and catalog/mail order ammo sales business.
Require evacuation of all “facilities containing explosives” during any electrical storm. (Think about any Wal-Mart or sporting goods store that carries ammo.)
Prohibit smoking within 50 feet of “facilities containing explosives.”
The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Association are all preparing comment on the proposed OSHA regulations, stressing the severe effect such regulations would have on the availability of ammunition and reloading supplies to safe and responsible shooters across the country.
Currently, the public comment period on the proposed rules is scheduled to end July 12, though attempts are currently underway to extend the period by 60 days.
Industry leaders are not mincing words about the potential impact such regulations might have on the industry, if implemented.
“As written, the proposed rule would force the closure of nearly all ammunition manufacturers and force the cost of small arms ammunition to skyrocket beyond what the market could bear--essentially collapsing our industry,” read this week’s press release from the NSSF.