OSHA Retreats on Explosives Standard's Rewrite

Backing down in the face of strong opposition from black powder shooters, the National Rifle Association, and allied groups, OSHA on July 17 announced it has closed the comment period for its April 13, 2007, proposed revisions in the existing explosives standard. A check of the www.regulations.gov site indicated 2,284 comments had been submitted, overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal.

The NRA's Web site posted a report indicating a friendly member of Congress, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., planned to offer an amendment barring use of federal funds to enforce the proposed rule; the amendment would have been offered to the Labor Department's 2008 appropriations bill when the House debates it July 18, according to the NRA report, which also said another congressman had gathered 25 House colleagues' signatures on a July 11 letter opposing the rule.

The OSHA announcement that the comment period is closed simply says the department "intends to re-propose the Explosives NPRM at a later date in order to clarify the intent of the rulemaking." Opponents' comments said the proposed rule would effectively have ended motor carriers' ability to ship black powder ammunition and would have severely reduced gunsmiths' and gun shops' business.

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