Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S. 792 late last month, otherwise known as the Explosive Materials Background Check Act. The bill is a response to the Boston Marathon bombing, during which three bystanders lost their lives and dozens more were injured.

“It defies common-sense that anyone, even a terrorist, can walk into a store in America and buy explosive powders without a background check or any questions asked,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “Requiring a background check for an explosives permit is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of our communities.”

The bill would:

  • Require a background check to purchase black powder, black powder substitute, or smokeless powder, in any quantity;
  • Provide the Attorney General with the authority to stop the sale of explosives when a background check reveals that the applicant is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General reasonably believes that the person may use the explosives in connection with terrorism;
  • Make it illegal to manufacture homemade explosives without a permit; and
  • Direct ATF to conduct a study on the tagging of explosives, particularly black powder, black powder substitute, and smokeless powder, which could enable law enforcement to detect, identify, and trace explosives used in crimes.
Under the current law customers can purchase up to 50 pounds of explosive black powder without a background check, and an unlimited amount of smokeless powder or black powder substitute. If passed, the bill could seriously hamper sportsmen and enthusiasts who load their own ammunition using these types of powders. Hobbyists who manufacture their own cartridges, even for personal use, will need to acquire a permit for doing so. The act will also require a background check for those purchasing these types of powders and grant authorities the power to deny permits, licenses or right to purchase.

In its current form, the bill will reportedly not affect commercial companies. The recently released full text of S. 792 can be read here.

Also in response to the Boston Marathon bombing, Senator Lautenberg introduced a bill to prevent gun sales to non-immigrant aliens.

Image from Hohum on Wikimedia Commons

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4 thoughts on “Proposed Explosive Materials Background Check Act Could Affect Reloaders, Muzzleloaders

  1. It’s just crazy to see how stupid some of our Senators really are, this takes the cake!
    It wasn’t even gun powder that those bombs were made from it was fireworks.
    We need a stupid law in this country just for politicians!

  2. This seems akin to blaming a weapon rather than a person. A knife maker is not blamed when a woman stabs her mate then cuts his throat. Nor the maker of baseball bats, etc. Law makers seem to want their name in the news, perhaps as bids for re-election, perhaps for name recognition or vanity. In the process, many look downright stupid.

  3. This law has nothing to do with keeping anyone safe. It is about making sure that the general populace has no way to defend itself against a government bent on shredding the Constitution. Call me paranoid, but before you do, read the news paper, with the Libya stuff, the AP phone records, and on and on.

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