Rehberg Scores Victory for Montana's Gun Owners
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today announced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has caved under pressure and will significantly revise its recent proposal for new "explosives safety" regulations that caused serious concern among gun owners. Rehberg had planned on offering an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill which would have stopped the new OSHA rule that would have harmed Montana's gun shops, sporting goods stores, shippers, and ammunition dealers.
"It's critical we ensure federal regulations are as up-to-date as possible to keep Montana's workforce safe," said Rehberg, a member of the House Labor Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "However, it's equally important we don't burden local small businesses with costly regulations in the process. The OSHA rule would have required many gun vendors to follow expensive procedures which would have in turn driven them out of business."
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. In short, the rule was written so broadly that many gun stores would have been in violation of the rule and likely forced to close their doors. Many gun owners feared this was a veiled attempt to further restrict the lawful sale of firearms.
In response to OSHA's proposal and numerous calls from within the state, Rehberg planned to offer an amendment that would have prevented federal funds from being used to enforce the regulation. However, due to Rehberg's concerns, OSHA sent a letter to Rehberg promising to withdraw the proposed rule and change the relevant sections before proceeding.
Yesterday, Kristine A. Iverson, the Labor Department's Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, sent Rep. Rehberg a letter 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.
"The OSHA proposal to regulate ammunition the same as dynamite was either a very bad idea, or a direct attack on the Second Amendment," said Gary Marbut, President of Montana Shooting Sports Association. "We're glad Denny was on the ball and proactive in stopping adoption of these federal regulations."
"As the lone member of the Montana delegation on the Appropriations Committee, I was in a good position to tell OSHA that this rule wasn't going to work," said Rehberg. "I'll continue to watch the proposal as it moves forward to ensure the concerns of Montana gun owners are addressed."