Brass Issue Not Resolved
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Default Brass Issue Not Resolved

From The Shooting Wire for Monday, April 5

Brass Issue Not Resolved

When I last reported on the ongoing question of the release of once-fired military brass to the civilian marketplace, it seemed the issue might finally be resolving itself. Any passing on of that impression seems to have been either premature or unintentionally erroneous.

Seems the efforts of base commanders to skate around a Congressional order not to try and sell the brass outside the prescribed process- sales via auction via Government Liquidations, an outside auction house for government properties- has been an ongoing process.

As a result, Montana's United States Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester have sent a very strongly-worded letter to the Department of Defense insisting on answers to some very pointed questions on the matter of military brass destruction.

The issue came to light after sales solicitations from ATK (NYSE: ATK) were disclosed by Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) head Gary Marbut. In the ATK sales pieces, base commanders were told how they could sell their once-fired brass to ATK for demilling rather than sending it through the prescribed governmental process. That sales process would result in the funds going directly into each base's funds instead of the treasury.

Despite the fact that most military commanders would probably be better stewards of those funds than Washington, the process is basically a no-no. When given a clear directive to follow, it's not only unusual for military officials to fail to comply, it's the equivalent of issuing a throw-down at Washington.

The most unsettling part of the report, however, was a series of quotes taken from the ATK program literature being directed to the commanders.

In those materials, several reasons for participating in a direct sale rather than a government liquidation were quoted. None portrayed potential civilian purchasers, reloaders or shooters in a very positive light.

Those included:
"We cannot allow this reloaded ammunition to fall into the hands of militias."

"Keeps Military Grade Brass from being re-loaded by unauthorized users."

"To PREVENT anyone from using your scrap ammunition components for non-military purposes." (Emphasis in the original)

"Assurability for the [military] installation, that no one can use this cartridge against law enforcement or our military personnel, by reloading the case."

Get the idea?

When I contacted ATK President and CEO Mark DeYoung, I received an official response that described the presentations as "dated", promising they would be "immediately withdrawn."

"ATK," it concluded, "fully supports the provision passed by Congress last year to ensure that demilitarized spent brass casings remain available for civilian use."

Seems, however, that not everyone might have gotten the word. We received word from reliable sources telling us that the same ATK person who had issued the now-withdrawn earlier documents had notified some of the bases participating in the demilled brass project "we are doing the same thing still, same goal, just different words..."

Even if the whole affair was a misunderstanding, there's a clear directive issued from Congress to the military that no Congress-appropriated funds may be used to destroy brass. Here's the excerpt from the 2009 Department of Defense appropriation by Congress:

"None of the funds available to the Department of Defense may be used to demilitarize or dispose of M-1 Carbines, M-1 Garand rifles, M-14 rifles, .22 caliber rifles, .30 caliber rifles, or M-1911 pistols, or to demilitarize or destroy small arms ammunition or ammunition components that are not otherwise prohibited from commercial sale under Federal law, unless the small arms ammunition or ammunition components are certified by the Secretary of the Army or designee as unserviceable or unsafe for further use."

Even if it's a case of everyone not being informed, it's not sitting well with the same Montana senators who went to bat for civilians when the whole ammo demilling issue first surfaced.

The pair has sent a letter to Defense Logistics Agency head Vice Admiral Alan K. Thompson demanding answers, and setting an April 15 deadline for receipt of those answers.

After reminding Vice Admiral Thompson the domestic market for ammunition was "highly sensitive to shortages of spent cartridge cases" they expressed their concern that "certain installation contracts with private entities for the sale of once-fired small arms cartridge cases under the QRP (Qualified Recycling Program) might not be in compliance with this law."

The pair then gave Thompson until April 15 to provide:

-the number and location of military installations that have contracted with private sources for the sale of their once-fired small arms cartridge cases under the QRP.,

-An assessment of whether these contracts are in compliance with Section 8019 or PL 1111-1111

-An assessment of whether once-fired small arms cartridge cases sold to private entities under the QRP earn as much revenue as otherwise would be earned if the brass were put up for public bid through government liquidations.

-The steps our agency is taking to ensure that all interested buyers have the opportunity to purchased once-fired small arms cartridge cases and an assessment of whether your agency is taking every step to assure the maximum availablility of once-fired small arms cartridge cases to those who repurchase them for resale and reuse via the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) system."

In other words, the matter of civilian access to once-fired military brass remains an open issue - at least until April 15. At that point, the situation may either stabilize or continue to spiral.

We'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd

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Old 04-10-2010, 05:42 PM   #2
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I am willing to bet that the issue solves itself. For the military spent brass is a source of income they are not going to let that get thrown that away. Also They are not going to buy the equipment/supplies and manpower needed to reload it all.

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Old 04-17-2010, 09:20 PM   #3
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Progress Made On Military Once-Fired Brass Issue—ATK Stops Scrapping Cartridge Cases

Friday, April 16, 2010

On Friday, April 16, Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced that ATK—the defense conglomerate that operates the Army’s Lake City ammunition plant, and that owns the Federal ammunition, RCBS reloading equipment, and Alliant smokeless gunpowder companies—is voluntarily withdrawing from contracts it made with military bases to collect and scrap once-fired small arms cartridge cases. The scrapping of the cases became an issue several weeks ago, when it was determined to be partially responsible for reducing the quantity of intact cartridge cases sold to companies that use them to produce reloaded ammunition for sale to private individuals.


ATK’s decision follows, by about two weeks, a letter sent by the two senators to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), asking its chief to determine whether the scrapping of the brass complied with the 2010 DOD Appropriations Bill (Section 8019 of Public Law 111-118) prohibiting the use of federal funds to demilitarize or destroy once-fired small arms cartridge cases.

Senators Baucus and Tester advised the DLA, “The intent of this law is to ensure once-fired small arms cartridge cases are made available intact in the open market. We are concerned that certain installation contracts with private entities for the sale of once-fired small arms cartridge cases … may not be in compliance with this law.”


A separate federal law, passed in the 1990s, authorizes military installations that have Qualified Recycling Programs to scrap fired cartridge cases and a wide variety of other government property. Therefore, in the days to come, NRA-ILA will continue working with Senators Baucus and Tester, and other members of Congress, to determine what, if any, adjustments are necessary to resolve any underlying problems that might interrupt the availability of the cartridge cases in the future.


A fact sheet on Senator Tester’s website further illuminates the two senators’ appreciation of the contribution that reloaded ammunition manufacturers make to promoting the right to keep and bear arms. The fact sheet also includes the text of the letter that the two senators sent to the DLA.


NRA members are encouraged to thank Senators Baucus and Tester for once again quickly taking steps to ensure the availability of the cartridge cases to reloaders. Last year, when a bureaucratic glitch led to a temporary suspension in the sale of the cases, the senators quickly communicated their concerns to the DLA, which contributed to the government’s decision to reclassify the cartridge cases so that their sale could be resumed. A summary of last year’s circumstances is available here.


Contact information for Senator Baucus can be found here. Senator Tester can be reached by e-mail here.

Done! This is a sample of the letter/email I sent, feel free to cut and paste.

Dear Senator,

I would like to thank you for your efforts to uphold out Second Amendment Rights with your co-authored letter to the DLA.

Please never give up the good fight to save our rights!

Respectively,

canebrake

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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From The Shooting Wire for Monday, April 19

Updating Military Brass Story and More

As we first reported last week, Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) has announced that it has discontinued a program of recycling spent brass casings from U.S. military installations. The decision should allow more once-fired military brass to be sold to civilian gun owners.

Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester went to war with the Department of Defense last year, ultimately issuing a directive to the Defense Logistics Agency to discontinue the practice of shredding brass for recycling, rather than selling the brass into the civilian marketplace via a government-approved auction company.

Recent reports indicated, and then confirmed, however, that the sales to private companies rather than the open market via the approved auction of military surplus was being continued by some commanders. Apparently, a dizzying amalgam of directives, including EPA procedures, was being used by some as their reasoning to sell destroyed brass rather than intact ammunition cases being sold as surplus.

Last week, Montana's sole Congressman, Denny Rehberg's was "personally assured" by ATK their controversial program was "done". There was, however, residual skepticism. After all, brass destruction was supposed to have been discontinued following last year's confrontation with Senators Baucus and Tester.

It now seems Montana's entire congressional delegation is satisfied. On Friday, Baucus and Tester released the following statement:

"We are pleased that Alliant Techsystems has decided to stop its current contracts to recycle spent brass casings for U.S. military installations. This is good news for America's gun owners because it will make additional spent casings available, which is just one more way that gun rights in America are becoming stronger."

Today, there doesn't seem to be much doubt that Montana's entire congressional delegation are strong gun rights advocates. In addition to going to bat for reloaders last year, Tester led, and Baucus joined, the bipartisan effort in Congress to write a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of gun rights in the U.S. Supreme Court's McDonald v. Chicago case.

We'll keep you posted on this one.

--Jim Shepherd

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