Gunpowder Scare Averted—For Now

posted on September 2, 2016

NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action is reporting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has at least temporarily backed off a ruling that would have changed the way one of the main components of smokeless gunpowder used in modern ammunition is treated.

Earlier this summer, ATF released an Explosives Industry Newsletter that changed the agency’s treatment of nitrocellulose. This change had the potential to seriously disrupt ammunition supply in the United States because it changed a long-standing ATF policy that exempted properly “wetted” nitrocellulose from treatment as an explosive under federal law.

NRA and industry raised these concerns to ATF and any change in ATF’s treatment of nitrocellulose is now officially delayed. In an addendum to the earlier newsletter, ATF announced that it “will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted nitrocellulose will not be affected.”

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