OSHA to rewrite rule after opposition from gun supporters (7/23)
OSHA is updating its safety regulations on the handling and transportation of explosives. But the agency's proposed rule was written so broadly that it would have placed impractical restrictions on and likely forced the closure of many gun stores, said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.).
Rehberg, who has the support of the National Rifle Association, threatened to introduce an amendment to an appropriations bill on the House floor that would have prevented federal funds from being used to enforce the regulation. In response, an OSHA official wrote Rehberg that the agency never meant the rule to be interpreted that way and that it would be revised.
OSHA will repropose the rule at a later date to clarify its intent, the Labor Department announced.
The proposed rule would have defined "explosives" to include black powder, small-arms ammunition, small-arms ammunition primers and smokeless propellant and treated those items the same as the most volatile high explosives, Rehberg said.
A workplace with even a handful of small arms cartridges would have been considered a "facility containing explosives" and therefore subject to many impractical restrictions, he said.
"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," wrote Kristine Iverson, a Labor Department assistant secretary, in response to Rehberg’s concerns.
Iverson wrote that OSHA undertook the rulemaking because the existing explosives standard has not been changed in 35 years. The regulation needs to reflect new technologies and bring OSHA into agreement with other federal agencies that regulate explosives, she wrote.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), also gathered signatures from 25 House colleagues on a letter opposing the proposed rule.