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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter Masthead
Gene Baker


Regulatory requirements for sport rocket motors

have received questions concerning ATF's regulatory activities
with respect to sport rocket motors containing ammonium perchlorate
composite propellant (APCP). ATF's authority to regulate explosives,
including APCP, derives from Title XI of the Organized Crime Control
Act of 1970, as codified at 18 U.S.C., Chapter 40. This law defines
"explosive" in pertinent part, as

chemical compound, mixture, or device the primary or common
purpose of which is to function by explosion" (18 U.S.C.
§ 841(d))

other materials that deflagrate (i.e. materials that burn very
quickly), APCP is an "explosive" as defined under Federal
explosives law, and APCP has been included on ATF's List of Explosive
Materials since the first such list was published in 1971. In
view of APCP's status as an explosive, sport rocket motors containing
APCP are subject to Federal controls governing the importation,
manufacture, distribution, and storage of explosive materials,
as set forth in 18 U.S.C., Chapter 40, and in ATF regulations
at 27 C.F.R., Part 55.

does exempt from control sport rocket motors and rocket-motor
reload kits containing small amounts of APCP or other similar
explosives, however this exemption applies only to rocket motors
containing up to 62.5 grams of propellant and to rocket motor
reload kits whose contents cannot be utilized to produce a rocket
motor whose total propellant weight is more than 62.5 grams. The
62.5-gram exemption does not extend to reload kits that can be
used to create motors containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant
or to propellant modules of any weight that are not part of an
exempted reload kit.

the near future, ATF will engage in rulemaking to solicit comments
on the continuing use of the 62.5-gram exemption threshold. Persons
having specific inquiries regarding ATF's regulation of sport
rocket motors should contact the Public Safety Branch in ATF Headquarters.



April of this year representatives of the Arson & Explosives
Programs Division met in Ottawa with members of the Canadian government
having responsibility over explosives laws and regulations. The
Canadian government is considering revising their explosives regulations
and requested ATF participation in developing some of their proposals.
Canada does not currently have the same provisions as the United
States with

regard to explosives licensing, inspection programs, and investigations
of criminal activity involving explosives.


Regulation of Pest control devices outlined

persons acquiring, selling, and/or using explosive devices designed
for use in controlling birds and other wildlife pests (such as
are used in protecting crops or in commercial fishing operations)
should be aware that these devices can be manufactured, imported,
and/or sold only by persons holding a Federal explosives license.

of explosive pest control devices at gun shows or at other locations
away from the premises of a Federally licensed explosives dealer
are illegal. Licensees selling explosive pest control devices
and persons acquiring such devices must store the devices in,
at minimum, a Type-4 explosives magazine and should ensure that
they are in compliance with applicable storage-related regulations
found in 27 C.F.R., Part 55, Subpart K. Persons seeking variances
from storage or other regulatory requirements may submit an application
to ATF pursuant to the provisions of 27 C.F.R. § 55.22.

the near future, ATF will be issuing a notice designed to establish
a regulatory framework for sales of explosive pest control devices
to persons having a bona fide agricultural or other pest-control
use for the devices. Licensees and users of explosives pest control
devices should carefully review the notice when it is issued and
should also be aware that the Consumer Product Safety Commission
imposes additional restrictions pertaining to the sale of explosive
pest control devices.

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