The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making some changes that are really raising some eyebrows. They have decided to reclassify wetted nitrocellulose as a high explosive under the federal explosives laws.
Nitrocellulose is a component of smokeless powder that is used in small-arms ammunition and artillery fire. Smokeless powder allowed for the development of modern semi- and fully automatic firearms. In times before smokeless powder, burnt black powder produced a thick, heavy residue that caused autoloading firearms to jam. Smokeless powder containing nitrocellulose exhibits none of these properties.
Explained in the ATF Newsletter is the change that came as a surprise to most, without any chance for the industry to have any input. Did the ATF really think that a newsletter was the best way to go about a policy change with such heavy exemptions attached?
A lot of people would agree that this is an irresponsible policy change, and the fact that it came in the form of a newsletter is frustrating for many. It sounds like the legal battle is just beginning on this one, but hopefully they get to the bottom of why this change was made so drastically.
It’s worth noting that nothing major is likely to be affected by this policy change, since no major manufacturer has been contacted or notified of any such information. In addition, the ATF has granted waivers to ammunition manufactures in the past.