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Implementation of BATF Court Decision (March 18 NAR/TRA statement)

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georgegassaway

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Here is the latest Statement:

JOINT TRA/NAR STATEMENT ON THE LAWSUIT VS BATFE

March 18, 2009

After a conference with our legal counsel, we provide the following information to our members on how to proceed in the aftermath of the favorable decision by Judge Walton in our lawsuit to eliminate the unjustified regulation of Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) imposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). We cannot offer legal advice to individual members, and members should consult their own legal counsel if there are any questions about how to proceed.

First, we should assume that the judge's decision "vacating", or rendering null and void, the BATFE regulation of APCP will not take effect until the period for appeal by the BATFE has passed without their filing an appeal. This will be approximately 60 days from now.However, even if an appeal is filed, it is possible for the Court's judgment to be in effect and BATFE regulation to be nullified while the appeal is pending. We will advise you if this is this is the case.

If BATFE should appeal the decision, regardless of the fact that there is almost no credible basis for such an appeal or for the appeal to be approved by the Department of Justice, we should await the results of the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals before assuming that BATFE no longer regulates APCP in the long term. However, unless the appellate court grants the agency a "stay of judgment" (which they may request, should they appeal) final judgment will be considered in effect at the end of the 60 day period mentioned above. At that time, the Judge Walton's decision will take effect and could only be nullified by an overturn on appeal. Should the appellate court grant BATFE a stay of judgment, we will have to await the decision of the court before Judge Walton's decision would be considered final and in effect.
An appeal could take up to six months, and possibly more time. If there is no appeal, then the regulations are automatically cancelled even if BATFE chooses not to publish a notice of such cancellation.

We will keep our members advised of the status of any appeals and will let you know the exact official date on which the regulations are no longer in effect. After this official date, you will not be required to have BATFE licenses or be subject to BATFE inspection or oversight for sport rocketry operations with APCP in any quantity and should show a copy of the Court judgment to any BATFE agent who takes an opposite position.

Second, members should proceed for now on the basis that all these BATFE regulations remain in effect. Appropriate licenses are still required to buy, sell, possess, and/or store APCP until such time as the regulations are cancelled. If you have a license up for renewal between now and late May (or whatever later date may be determined by any BATFE appeal process), you will have to renew it if you wish to perform any of these transactions.
Third, once the regulations are canceled, members are reminded that high-power user certifications are still required for purchasing or using high-power motors even if BATFE licenses are not. We have a great reputation as a self-regulating group of responsible hobbyists and our future success in defending the freedom we just won back could depend on maintaining this reputation.

Fourth, this Court decision did not change the regulated status of other sport rocketry items such as black powder, some kinds of igniters, etc. To the extent that any of these items previously required licenses and magazine storage, nothing has changed. Nor does the decision affect licensing and regulation by other federal, state or local government agencies.
We thank our members for their continued patience and for their sustained moral and financial support as we have fought this long battle successfully together.


Ken Good, President
Tripoli Rocketry Association

Trip Barber, President
National Association of Rocketry
 

AKPilot

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It doesn't take much, but I'm confused.

Does all of this mean that we could eventually store APCP in our homes?

I guess I was mistaken for the past few years. I thought winning the lawsuit meant we could purchase and store - not just store. I guess we can purchase once we have the appropriate cert. with the appropriate motor AND then store in our homes - correct?

For example, if I'm a Level 2 does this mean I can purchase a K/L motor and store it in my underware drawer?
 

georgegassaway

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Does all of this mean that we could eventually store APCP in our homes?
Yes. I have my model rocketry D/E/F/G APCP motors and reloads stored indoors, as those never required an LEUP. Once this becomes official, the larger motors "H" class and above will no longer require an LEUP , so they can be stored however you want.

For example, if I'm a Level 2 does this mean I can purchase a K/L motor and store it in my underware drawer?
Take 1: If you do not mind scaring your wife when she opens it.

Take 2: Better there than your DIRTY underwear drawer.

More seriously, wherever you would think is most prudent to store model rocket engines, could be just as suitable for a K/L. The thing is that YOU get to decide it. You do not have the BATF telling you exactly how you have to store them. Just like you do not have the BATF telling you how/where to store a gallon of paint, a pack of matches, a bag of sugar, or package of rat poison.

But yeah, not a great idea to store them in your bedroom, though once this is official you legally could. But there are most certainly places in your home that would be better choices.

If you have a "rocket shop" or "rocket room" where you build and store models and such in.... that would be a good candidate. Somone else might go for storing them in an attached garage, but inside of some airtight container to keep the humidity low.

- George Gassaway
 
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DAllen

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Like AKPilot...it doesn't take much to confuse me. If I am reading the NAR statement correctly, if I currently DO NOT have a LEUP I technically cannot store an H180 (for example) in my house until the 60 days is up and the decision is actually final. So at the very minimum we still need to have LEUP's until the 60 days is up - right?

If so...bummer.

-Dave
 

georgegassaway

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Like AKPilot...it doesn't take much to confuse me. If I am reading the NAR statement correctly, if I currently DO NOT have a LEUP I technically cannot store an H180 (for example) in my house until the 60 days is up and the decision is actually final. So at the very minimum we still need to have LEUP's until the 60 days is up - right?
I am not an NAR official, but as I understand it, yes, you need an LEUP for the time being.

Act as though nothing has technically or legally changed from a week ago, because technically and legally it has not. Not yet.

But consider this:
That tiniest little DIM pinpoint of light at the end of a decade-long deep tunnel has in the last few days suddenly become a VERY bright light as we are nearing the end of the tunnel! But we are not OUT of that tunnel quite yet.

Another 60 days or so is not that terrible. A week ago we had no clue when we might see a ruling, and no assurance at all that we would win it (frankly, I am surprised we won. Because one can be right but still lose. And IIRC this is the first case like this the BATF has lost).

- George Gassaway
 

davel

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60 days takes us up to about a week before NSL2009. Could be an interesting launch.
 

jadebox

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But yeah, not a great idea to store them in your bedroom, though once this is official you legally could.
Our motors are flammable solids and should be stored properly and safely.

Local laws might dictate storage requirements, but I'm not aware of local laws anywhere that specificly talk about APCP. I'll treat my motors like other flammables and store them in the garage away from open sources of flame like I do with my cans of spray paint, paint thinner and other stuff. Our rocket motors are much harder to ignite than those other things, but it's best to be safe.

-- Roger
 

troj

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Our motors are flammable solids and should be stored properly and safely.

Local laws might dictate storage requirements, but I'm not aware of local laws anywhere that specificly talk about APCP. I'll treat my motors like other flammables and store them in the garage away from open sources of flame like I do with my cans of spray paint, paint thinner and other stuff. Our rocket motors are much harder to ignite than those other things, but it's best to be safe.
A simple metal box, such as a surplus ammo can, is a great precaution and storage container.

-Kevin
 

WillMarchant

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Our motors are flammable solids and should be stored properly and safely.

Local laws might dictate storage requirements, but I'm not aware of local laws anywhere that specificly talk about APCP. I'll treat my motors like other flammables and store them in the garage away from open sources of flame like I do with my cans of spray paint, paint thinner and other stuff. Our rocket motors are much harder to ignite than those other things, but it's best to be safe.

-- Roger
Hi Roger:
A quick search (https://www.flrules.org/gateway/notice_Files.asp?ID=2662085 for example) makes it appear that Florida has adopted NFPA 1127 as law. Therefore there are pretty clear regulations for you on how you may store exempt and non-exempt HPR materials.
Best wishes,
Will
 

Stymye

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We still need to atleast follow local regs (and common sense) with storage.
 

Uncrichie

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Wanta know whats ironic about all of this. Local and State authorities already have access to records of LEUP holders/users. So when/if the final order is approved on a federal level all LEUP holders will still have to abide with State and Local regulations as they are already on the radar. None LEUP holders will be flying under the radar unscathed to do as they please. Not that I condone that type activity but you can see the irony in it. Uncrichie.
 

georgegassaway

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Don't forget state regulations also. None of them have been challenged with this law suit!!!
Well, a good bit of the state regs came into play because of Storage of "Explosives" according to the BATF. It was a Domino-effect of state/local problems, in a BAD way. Take away the BATF's defining them as "explosive", then a lot of the state and local laws that came into play would no longer apply, a Domino-effect in a GOOD way.

But it is an interesting point as to which state regs might possibly be applicable. But the DOT classification does not apply since that is only applicable for shipping. And with the BATF classification gone, what basis is left for a state or local agency to individually declare APCP "explosive"?

- George Gassaway
 
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