Monday, July 16, 2007

OSHA bows down to firearm owners and NRA pressure

Kristine sent me the following press release from the NRA. Once more hunters and firearm owners have proven that if they make their voices heard loud and clear results will be achived.

Labor Department Announces It Will Revise
Overreaching OSHA Explosives Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will significantly revise a recent proposal for new “explosives safety” regulations that caused serious concern among gun owners. OSHA had originally set out to update workplace safety regulations, but the proposed rules included restrictions that very few gun shops, sporting goods stores, shippers, or ammunition dealers could comply with.

Gun owners had filed a blizzard of negative comments urged by the NRA, and just a week ago, OSHA had already issued one extension for its public comment period at the request of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. After continued publicity through NRA alerts and the outdoor media, and after dozens of Members of Congress expressed concern about its impact, OSHA has wisely decided to go back to the drawing board.

Working with the NRA, Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) planned to offer a floor amendment to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill this Wednesday when the House considers this legislation. His amendment would have prohibited federal funds from being used to enforce this OSHA regulation.

Such an amendment is no longer necessary since Kristine A. Iverson, the Labor Department’s Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, sent Rep. Rehberg a letter, dated July 16, stating that it “was never the intention of OSHA to block the sale, transportation, or storage of small arms ammunition, and OSHA is taking prompt action to revise” this proposed rule to clarify the purpose of the regulation.

Also, working with the NRA, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) gathered signatures from 25 House colleagues for a letter (pdf file), dated July 11, expressing concerns about this proposed OSHA rule. The letter calling the proposal “an undue burden on a single industry where facts do not support the need outlined by this proposed rule” and “not feasible, making it realistically impossible for companies to comply with its tenets.”

The OSHA proposal would have defined “explosives” to include “black powder, … small arms ammunition, small arms ammunition primers, and smokeless propellant,” and treated these items the same as the most volatile high explosives.

Under the proposed rule, a workplace that contained even a handful of small arms cartridges, for any reason, would have been considered a “facility containing explosives” and therefore subject to many impractical restrictions. For example, no one could carry “firearms, ammunition, or similar articles in facilities containing explosives … except as required for work duties.” Obviously, this rule would make it impossible to operate any kind of gun store, firing range, or gunsmith shop.

The public comment website for the proposed rule is no longer accessible. The Labor Department will publish a notice in the July 17 Federal Register announcing that a new rule proposal will soon be drafted for public comment. Needless to say, the NRA monitors proposed federal regulations to head off this kind of overreach, and will be alert for OSHA’s next draft.

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Anonymous said...

I guess this is one in the win column for hunters. It is really inspiring to see what we can do when the entire hunting community comes together on an issue.

Anonymous said...

Guess I'm two for two on this post.

Just wanted to let you know that you have been awarded a Power of Schmooze Award. Details are on the GSI blog.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Kristine – Yes if hunters do stand up united as one voice then we can make a huge impact. It is my hope that hunters in future will realize that they have to stand together shoulder on shoulder to fight the good fight together. I keep telling everyone and will do so till the day I die. “We can get more done as hunters if we look at what unites us all rather than look for reasons that divide us. Bow hunters, Rifle Hunters, Crossbow Hunters, who cares! Bottom line is we’re ALL Hunters. Period!

Thanks for the Schmooze Award and the reason for it you posted on your blog. I am flattered.

-Othmar Vohringer-

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