New ‘Explosives’ License Impinges on Gun Owners that Load Own Ammo

Before the smoke had cleared after the terror attacks during the Boston Marathon last month, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg employed Obama’s favorite axiom of never letting a good crisis go to waste by immediately proposing major changes to federal laws pertaining to loose gun powder and explosives.

Reports quickly emerged after the bombing that the terrorists had used black powder for the explosive component of their pressure cooker bombs and this news prompted Lautenberg to action.

On April 23, Lautenberg introduced S. 792, the Explosive Materials Background Check Act. Originally, the Senator submitted the bill as a shell bill–meaning it was not fully written–but this month he has finally submitted the full text of his bill.

An analysis of the text reveals some disturbing changes ton current law. Lautenberg’s changes in the explosives law would seriously hamper history reenactor hobbyists, black powder hunters, sportsmen, target shooters, and anyone that loads their own ammo with modern smokeless gun powder or the older style black powder.

One change would require those that want to buy and store either smokeless powder or black powder to get a new license–at a rate of $50 every three years–to allow them to do so. The bill also says that they will only be allowed to have “limited” supplies but does not seem to say what amount would exceed those limits.

Companies making pre-made ammunition are not required to obtain these licenses (for now).

The bill also redefines what “manufacturer” of explosives means. The original laws defines “manufacturer” as someone who is making explosives (cartridges, etc.) for sale. That commercial aspect of the law is struck out in the new bill. If Lautenberg’s anti-explosives bill passes, anyone that hand loads cartridges for their own use or anyone that uses black powder firearms for hunting, sporting, or hobby use will now be classified as “manufacturers.”

This will also impinge on those that use Tannerite explosives for sporting purposes. This substance is manufactured as two separate powders and is legally sold over the counter because neither component is explosive by itself. Mixing these two inert chemicals together without a new explosives license, however, will likely be illegal.

Lautenberg’s bill will also expand a ban of sale to more people. The new bill, for instance, will make it illegal to sell black or smokeless powder to anyone that has had a restraining order taken out against him.

The new bill also turns the current “shall issue” practice into a “may issue” rule. In other words, the new bill would give authorities the right to deny any citizen the right to buy, store and own loose gun powder or explosives and the government doesn’t even have to supply any reason why the citizen is being denied. Nor will the government have to provide a means of redress. Once you are denied, that is it forever.

The bill does not seem to affect fireworks dealers.

Certainly, this new level of licensing will make it more costly for merchants to sell loose powder and will likely cause many that already may have low sales volume to cease selling such items. This will make it harder for gun owners to find supplies.

These rules violate the Second Amendment in spirit by making it harder for citizens to have the gun powder they need to exercise their rights to self-protection. Founding father Thomas Jefferson foresaw this line of attack against our rights and noted that these sorts of restrictions are illicit.

In his 1792 report on the Navigation of the Mississippi (ME 3:180), Jefferson wrote, “It is a principle that the right to a thing gives a right to the means without which it could not be used, that is to say, that the means follow their end.”

If gun owners do not have the means–in this case the gun powder–to make their firearms work, then they are necessarily being denied the capability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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  • how much gunpowder can you get from $100 worth of 12 ga. shotgun shells ?
    more than a little … plenty if you want to make a bomb …

    • GarandFan

      If you want to make a bomb, don’t use smokeless powder.

  • GarandFan

    In the People’s Republik of Kalifornia, you buy loose powder, your name, address, etc and DL number are entered in a book the vendor is required to maintain. While with the local PD, I once asked a Sheriff’s bomb tech what they did with the info. Answer: “Nothing, until something happens somewhere, then maybe someone will look at local vendor’s books.”

    Yeah. AFTER.

    My neighbor works for the local fire department. While watching me reload one day, he mentioned that my 1lb can of gun powder had less explosive power than the 1 gallon can of gasoline I have in my garage for my lawnmower.

    Will Lautenberg be writing a law about HIGH CAPACITY storage containers for gasoline?

    • I think they’ve realized they’re at the point of diminishing returns as far as legislation goes – they’ve got to go further and further in order to maintain their ‘relevancy’. (As in “See? We’re really needed so we can legislate the smallest details of your life!”)

      In a related vein re gasoline, found this today… “How Government Wrecked the Gas Can”.

      Oh, good intentions are MUCH more important than usable results!

      • jim_m

        The end game is the left controlling the amount of everything you can buy. Just like Bloomberg wants to control how big of a soda you can buy, they will start with things they claim are bad for you and we will end up with everything being rationed.

        • Rationed, regulated, restricted…

          • jim_m

            The purpose of obamacre is not to improve the quality of care delivered 9it won’t), it isn’t to decrease the cost (it is already clear that costs will increase), it is to control who gets treated.

            Leftist policy is not about benefiting anyone it is about the left controlling what people do.

          • Hawk_TX

            The left’s attitude can be summed up by Senator Sandra Cunningham hot-mic statement “All they want to do is to have their little guns and do whatever they want with them.”

            They can’t stand the idea of somebody having or doing something that they disapprove of. The level of contempt for the freedom of the American people they have is simply staggering.

          • jim_m

            I believe the money quote on that was when she said “We needed a bill that was going to confiscate, confiscate, confiscate.”

            Every once in a while the left inadvertently give us a moment of honesty where they express their real intentions of asserting a fascist control over the lives of everyone else.

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  • mikesbuffalo

    more b.s. laws . less freedom. the people in power need to be tossed out of office, and someone with common sense put in.

    • Chris James

      Exactly all these laws taking away our freedoms slowly, we need to take our country back

  • Michael Lang

    Will this pass in the Senate? I doubt it….will it pass in the House….It won’t.

  • Chris James

    Just what we need more laws controlling us. When will it stop we are supposed to be free