ATF Makes Ammunition Error, works on Correction

By Dean Weingarten

ATF Nitrocellulose Newsletter

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( In June of 2016, the ATF announced that nitrocellulose, including nitrocellulose wetted with water or alcohol, would be considered a high explosive.  This change in regulation was simply announced in the June ATF EXPLOSIVES Industry Newsletter, without a comment period or any previous consideration.

This change had a potentially devastating effect on ammunition manufacturers and manufacturers of smokeless gunpowder.  If the ruling was upheld, it would have required enormous changes in gunpowder manufacture, making ammunition significantly more expensive, and likely halting the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder for a considerable period while changes to existing procedures were worked out, tested, and applied to the manufacturing process.

Astute people in the industry noticed and started to sound the alarm.  It is not surprising that people are on the edge of alarm during the final months of the Obama administration, as the administration has shown an alarming tendency to ignore both Congress and the courts.

The ATF sought to put the issue to rest yesterday , 31 August. It issued an update stating that the status of previously authorized industry oractices will not be affected for some period.  From the update:

Subsequent contact from industry members who import, transport, store or  employ wetted Nitrocellulose in the production of ammunition, however, has brought to our attention  that were not fully addressed in the Newsletter and require further consultation and consideration with the industry. Accordingly, ATF has and will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected.

This appears to have been an oversight on the part of the ATF; someone likely made a  mistake, not knowing the consequences of their actions.  It will probably be corrected.

This action shows the danger in so much power being concentrated in the executive branch.  A shutdown of an entire industry could happen simply because a bureaucrat decided to add one chemical to a list of others, without knowing the consequences, and not following procedure on the requirement for public input on the change of regulations.

ATF has not admitted that they overstepped their regulatory power; they have only admitted that they need to consult with the industry and take them into consideration.

But what other effects might there be that they or we do not know?  Regulators cannot know all; that is one of the reasons for public input.  It is entirely possible that small manufacturers or individuals will be significantly effected by this unanticipated regulatory change.

Might this regulatory change have any effect on smokeless gunpowder sold at the retail level?  Nitrocellulose is a major component of smokeless gunpowder.

It is positive that ATF responded to industry pressure in this regard.  But what if they had not?  Congress has shown little inclination to rein in the Obama administration; a court case could be bottled up for months or years, as has happened with the immigration case.

Congress should make clear the power of the ATF is limited, and any change must be subject to public oversight and comment.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Citizens C U

I bet powder/primer sales spiked dramatically! Could this announcement have served someone’s best interest for that reason? Even if temporary. Who would/could do that? I don’t disagree with the litmus test of public reaction either.


Is this just another ‘Test Balloon’ to gauge public reaction to further restrictions on Your Freedom? It wasn’t that long ago they proposed a ban on .223 Green Tip ammunition. We all know how that worked out. Is that still under consideration? Does ATF think the public has ‘short term memory’ or short ‘attention spans’?

Raymond Miller

If you think for one minuet that these A**holes, Demon-rats and Repubicans wouldn’t do this you have another thought coming my friend. There isn’t a hairs breath of difference between them any more, with a few exceptions, and you see what the RINO’s do to anyone who don’t do as they are told. They are all desperate to hold on to their power and enslave us so they can cheat us out of more money and freedom.

Billie Hobbs

ONCE Again, When The citizenry Is Willing To Trade FREEDOM & LIBERTY For Security; THEY DO NOT DESERVE NOR WILL THEY HAVE Either…
The Sheep Have Rebelled Against The Shepherd AND The Sheepdog; Preferring The Wolf… They Will Be Dined Upon…


If Hillary gets in, this will take effect immediately.

Wild Bill

@SG, Trump is our one chance in our lifetime to rebel against the political elites like hiLIARy.


I’m not sure if this is what people think it is. Google “2015 List of Explosives Materials”. On it you will see that black powder, black powder substitutes and smokeless powder are all on this list. THESE materials are considered EXPLOSIVES already. In fact these items have been on the List of Explosives Materials for a very long time. Simple google a different year for the list you will see it is there. Simply being on that list doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a step for a back door ban. It is always good to be on guard and… Read more »

John Hauserman

Just what imaginary problem was this going to fix. I’ll take a wild guess nothing it’s just another way to raise the cost and screw with law abiding citizens. When did messing with some ones constitutional rights by someone who swore an oath to uphold and support the constitution become so common place, and have no consequences. If it was the 1st or 5th or any other rights the left would be having a fit as it should but why is the 2nd Amendment different?

Silence Dogood

“ERROR” Error my ass!! Expect more such “errors” from the gun hating Democratic regime of Obamanation, and all his sycophants. Five more months of “errors,” we haven’t seen anything yet, especially once it’s confirmed that Pillory has lost!


BATF is no a friend of America..Simply arrogant small people that wield some authority, similar to IRS zombies. Give these types a bit of authority and they become supper assholes…ATF is not needed and should be abolished.


Key words, in the interim.

In the interim,

previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will not be affected.

Tim Maxey

I concur with Mr. Kent. This was no accident. Rather the camel’s nose under the tent-again.

Roy F. Wilt

Bullshit!!!!!!!!!! They wanted to see if they could get away with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clark Kent

The regulatory change is not in effect FOR NOW. Once HiLIARy is POTUS; it will be back in spades; count on it.


I have two questions. First , can anyone show that the B.A.T.F. was properly and lawfully created ? It was, it seems , created by administrative FIAT or EDICT in June 1972 , by a ‘ Proclamation ‘ of the Secretary Of The Treasury That being , Treasury Order # 120-01 . It was NOT created by Congress. Just as the A.G. in Massachusetts has overstepped her authority to ban any ‘ scary ‘ looking gun she does not like , so to Charles E. Walker had no power to ‘ create ‘ BATF. ( Regulatory sleight of hand )… Read more »