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April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since the 1970s, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has worked to block federal regulation—including background checks on transfers—of black and smokeless powder. The NRA's decades-long campaign against regulating these two common explosives today benefits the gun industry "corporate partners" that help fund the organization according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report,
Time Bomb: How the NRA Blocked the Regulation of Black and Smokeless Powder to the Benefit of Its Gun Industry "Corporate Partners" Today (
http://www.vpc.org/studies/timebomb.pdf). According to numerous news reports, the explosive devices used in the
Boston bombing most likely utilized black or smokeless powder.
Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director and study co-author states, "For decades, the NRA has effectively blocked public safety measures in order to protect the profits of the gun industry. In the early 1970s, when Congress acted to regulate explosives in the wake of bombings by radical groups, the NRA rushed in to protect the interests of manufacturers of black and smokeless powder. The NRA's actions to stop the regulation of black and smokeless powder is a time bomb that threatens all Americans."
How the NRA Blocked the Regulation of Black and Smokeless Powder
The VPC study details how in 1970, in response to a wave of bombings throughout the country, Congress, with the support of the Nixon Administration, moved to consolidate and increase federal regulatory oversight of the explosives industry and its products, including black and smokeless powder. Despite the clear threat posed by black and smokeless powder, the NRA--joined by other pro-gun organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)--worked to ensure that resulting legislation contained an exemption for "small arms ammunition and components thereof" which applied to most smokeless powder as well as to "black powder in quantities not to exceed five pounds." In 1974, over the protestations of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the NRA successfully lobbied to increase the amount of black powder exempted from federal regulation from five pounds to 50 pounds.