Court to BATFE: "You're no rocket scientist"


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AZRickD
February 11, 2006, 05:55 PM
http://nar.org/NARfrompres.html

The DC Circuit US Court of Appeals finally slams BATF's power grab into model rocketry. The judge says that BATF's insistence in classifying ammonium perchlorate propellant as an explosive is incoherent and totally indefensible:

"The problem in this case is that ATFE's explanation for its determination that APCP deflagrates lacks any coherence. We therefore owe no deference to ATFE's purported expertise because we cannot discern it. ATFE has neither laid out a concrete standard for classifying materials along the burn-deflagrate-detonate continuum, nor offered data specific to the burn speed of APCP when used for its 'common or primary purpose.' On this record, the agency's decision cannot withstand judicial review."

Lots of cause for jubilation from the rocket flyers... only it required a sustained fight of seven years and the pouring of tens of thousands of dollars down the legal system rathole.

Rick

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Crosshair
February 11, 2006, 06:27 PM
We need a looser pays system or something similar.

ElTacoGrande
February 11, 2006, 06:40 PM
We need a looser pays system or something similar.

We're the losers and we're paying. We paid 100% of the BATF's bills and the court costs.

The BATF probably blew millions on this, when they could have been doing stupid, useless things like helping solve murder cases, that sort of thing.

beerslurpy
February 11, 2006, 07:13 PM
We're the losers and we're paying. We paid 100% of the BATF's bills and the court costs.

The BATF probably blew millions on this, when they could have been doing stupid, useless things like helping solve murder cases, that sort of thing.
That is really the saddest thing I have read in a while. I sickens me to think how much of my money is being used to fund an attack upon my rights at the hands of the various alphabet soup agencies and their minions.

Cosmoline
February 11, 2006, 07:27 PM
We ... owe no deference to ATFE's purported expertise because we cannot discern it.

There's a quote for you :D

Fletchette
February 11, 2006, 07:30 PM
That is really the saddest thing I have read in a while. I sickens me to think how much of my money is being used to fund an attack upon my rights at the hands of the various alphabet soup agencies and their minions.

It is just as telling as it is sad. In other words, this whole episode illuminates the real issues that the ATF cares about. The ATF cares more about expanding it's domain and defending it in court (in this case, harassing model rocketeers) than expending those resources on fighting bonafide crime.

Kodiaz
February 11, 2006, 07:30 PM
The BATFE doesn't solve murders. I would bet my life that circus clowns could solve a murder faster than the BATFE. The DEA guy "This be the Glock foty..." is a genius compared to the Ftroop clowns.


BATFE is a tax collection agency. They collect tax stamp fees on the different NFA weapons. And what kind of tax collector burns down the house of the guy they are trying to collect from while he is still in it?? The really stupid kind!!


Beerslurpy I said alphabet soup first where are my royalties.:neener:

AZRickD
February 11, 2006, 08:00 PM
Here is some historical background from a friend who used to be on the national board. Readers Digest version -- "I told ya so."

The rocketeers had the misfortune to be led by someone who refused to learn from the experiences of others.

In 1994, I got into an e-mail argument with the then-president of the national association (which was nothing new, I was on their Board at the time) on the subject of bending over to the new claims by BATF that they regulated high-power rocketry (HPR). He assured me that the BATF only wanted "reasonable" regulation, understood our great safety record, and nothing they did would touch "model" rocketry because they didn't regulate model rocketry. I told him that "I'll bet that the BATF will send at least one shock wave through the HPR hobby within the first four years, and one through the model rocket hobby (which, if you recall, they 'don't regulate') within 10. Cut this out and hang it above your desk." I also told him, "Forget depending on our safety record. When they wish to further regulate model rocketry, they will create their own 'safety record' for the hobby and twist it any way they want."

Well, we saw both shock waves a whole year early. And what did I read in the association's Summer, 2003 newsletter? The current president describing how the BATF is now lying about our safety record.

Some people never see the light until it shines through the bullet holes.

Kodiaz
February 11, 2006, 08:21 PM
I recently acquired the BATFE's "special" dictionary.


Under "reasonable" I found the following definition.

Reasonable - remove your clothes and bend over while we outfit you with a ball gag special agent "Bubba" will reasonably regulate you and your hobby.

here is another one

Constitution - document that is to be ignored, meaningless outdated law

Oh this thing is great one more

Freedom - an outdated concept,uses We (BATFE) are currently working on eliminating freedom.

gc70
February 11, 2006, 08:21 PM
The court really hit the BATFE with the stupid stick in this case. The decision reminds the BATFE that the court would have deferred to its expertise if it had provided any reasonable explanation for its actions. Then the decision goes on - page after page - to describe how the BATFE totally failed to provide a reasonable explanation.

rallyhound
February 11, 2006, 08:32 PM
Maybe THR experts could help write some ATFE definitions such as define a full auto weapon in real terms that real people and courts could use as fact in court cases.
We could define explosives so everbody would know what is and isnt legal.
What about short barrels rifles. why is a 12 inch barrel more dangerous than a 16 incher?.
I have to believe that somewhere at ATFE there are some smart guys that could easily define the real hard limits.
Lets hear from some of you tech guys.

LAR-15
February 11, 2006, 08:37 PM
I really wish Reagan's plan to the neuter the BATFE had taken place in 1981.

They just wasted a bunch of our tax dollars on this- MODEL ROCKETRY!


:banghead:

beerslurpy
February 11, 2006, 08:53 PM
The problem with defining explosives is that there is huge sliding scale from charcoal briquette to plastique explosive.

Further complicated by non-standard conditions converting substances from one end of the scale to the other. Under higher than normal pressure, ammonium nitrate fuel explosive (a common and cheap low explosive) becomes a high explosive. How do you regulate ammonium nitrate without inconveniencing the oil, mining, demolition and agricultural industries but how do you prevent bombings (like OK city) from happening? Central control is notoriously inept at reaching compromises between confliting interests. The ATF is busy at work enforcing central control but not fixing any real problems. The soviets would be proud.

Further complication is introduced because many primary uses are entirely innocent, and no readily available substances have "terrorist attack" as their primary use. Just like drug store supplies dont have "meth manufacture" as their primary use. Governments are so stupid.

The root cause of this is that terrorists and criminals are free-riders on the same advances that make our society function. Short of catching them, you cant attack them without taking such broad swipes that you hurt everyone. The industrial revolution made nitrate compounds such as nitric acid and ammonium nitrate extremely common for use in chemical syntheses and agriculture. These same advances (and countless others like them) give terrorists a wide variety of tools for making bombs.

The ATFs actions are doomed to simultaneously fail and inconvenience many innocent people because the steps necessary to apprehend bad actors is identical to the steps necessary to uncover the fact that they are violating ATF regulations. Most people caught in the dragnet are people who unknowngly violate these laws but do not attempt to conceal their actions due to ignorance of the illegality.

AZRickD
February 11, 2006, 08:57 PM
On the other hand, it would have been far easier for a corrupt court to say, "Hey, looks good enough to us. Continue your fine work, F-Troop."

Rick

LAR-15
February 11, 2006, 09:01 PM
If this had dealt with guns, that's exactly what would have been said.

Kodiaz
February 11, 2006, 09:01 PM
Good point must have been one of those "activist" judges. Not letting the ATF do whatever they want.

cpileri
February 11, 2006, 09:21 PM
There's a quote for you :D
Can any legal eagles provide the correct way to reference that line if someone, not ME of course, was to want to use that quote in , oh... maybe... a sig line???
C-

One of Many
February 11, 2006, 09:27 PM
I do not know what 'deflagrate' means, nor how it compares to detonate. If there is a sliding scale, and some overlap between burn, deflagrate and detonate, why not use the rate of pressure increase in a specific volume upon ignition of a specific mass of the material under investigation? Alternately, use the rate of temperature increase by the ignited mass contained in the enclosed volume?

It should not be that difficult to scientifically determine a method of classifying materials as explosive, or having other hazardous properties.

Standing Wolf
February 11, 2006, 09:41 PM
Some people never see the light until it shines through the bullet holes.

Well said!

spartacus2002
February 11, 2006, 09:42 PM
Can any legal eagles provide the correct way to reference that line if someone, not ME of course, was to want to use that quote in , oh... maybe... a sig line???
C-

___ F.3d ___, ___ (D.C. Cir. 2006). First blank is which volume of the federal report it's in, next blank is the page of the federal reporter in which this opinion starts, last blank is the particular page the quote falls on. The blanks won't be filled in until the federal reporter is published in a few months.

The opinion is not quite the stunning victory it appears. The court says ATFE has to have A standard for what is deflagration, and the standard has to be something more than "we're the ATFE and we say so." Then the court sends it back for ATFE to create and apply the standard.

So, ATFE is still in a position to say "fine, the standard for deflagration is XYZ, and model rocket propellant meets that, so we can regulate it."

But, at least the court says they have to have a standard for calling a duck a duck.

ETA: the court did spend several pages telling ATFE in minute detail they were "stuck on stupid" which is always fun to see :D Reminds me of that scene toward the end of the Princess Bride where Cary Elwes prefaces his explanation to Prince Humperdinck with "...and I'll use small words."

Spec ops Grunt
February 11, 2006, 10:56 PM
This all stems from the new deal. We really need to get rid of this spilt mess of alphabet soup.

cpileri
February 11, 2006, 11:05 PM
Spartacus-
Thanks! When the official reference is published, i will revisit and ask you for the official correct ref again. I dont care if it will soon be overruled by, as you point out, the day the 'e-troop' rules that the standard for whatever is xyz. i still think its a wonderful quote to pass around the 'net!

One of many,
There is a standard for deflagration vs. detonation. it has to do witht he velocity of the burn of a substance.
Deflagration: "rapid combustion"; A flame front propagating through a flammable gas or vapor at a velocity less than the speed of sound in that gas or vapor; or: propagating flame that moves subsonically (the flame speed is less than the speed of sound) in a mixture of fuel and oxidizer.

Detonation: "instantaneous combustion"; a supersonic combustion wave. Detonations in gases propagate with velocities that range from 5 to 7 times the speed of sound in the reactants; also, High explosives undergo detonation at rates of 1,000 to 9,000 meters per second

and,
Explosion: There is no fixed definition of an explosion. Events that are described as explosions include a rupturing water boiler, a flash of light created by an electrical short circuit, detonation of a high explosive, deflagration of a tank containing an explosive fuel-air mixture, or the shock wave, fireball, and debris cloud produced by a thermonuclear detonation. The AIChE suggests that an explosion is "A release of energy that causes a blast". Berthelot, the French chemist that pioneered the scientific study of explosions, is reputed (Bailey and Murray, Explosives, Propellants and Pyrotechnics, Brassey) to have defined an explosion in 1883 as "the sudden explosion of gases into a volume of much greater than their initial one, accompanied by noise and violent mechanical effects." A humourous definition was given by Joseph Needham, "An explosion may be defined as a loud noise accompanied by the sudden going away of things from the places where they were before." - see p. 110 of The Gunpowder Epic, Vol 5, Part 7, Science and Civilization in China
Explosives have several effects, blast pressure effect (most powerful of all explosive effects). When the explosion occurs, very hot (between 3,000 and 7000 Fahrenheit) expanding gases are formed in a period of approximately 1/10,000 of a second. These gases exert pressures of about 700 tons per square inch on the atmosphere surrounding the point of detonation at velocities of up to 13,000 miles per hour or 29,900 fps.

( I royally plagiarized all this info)

I have read other velocities quoted as the barrier that divides the two terms, ex. 1000m/s, but whatever; a deflagration is a slower burn than a detonation.
So the burn rate of the powder is what will determine in a future ruling if the atf can regulate smokeless powder!
I wish i knew the actual burn rates, in air at 70-degrees F, of the various powders, but I don't. maybe someone can help...

Think it wont happen?
Watch your six!
C-

beerslurpy
February 11, 2006, 11:24 PM
Burning is when something releases heat and not much else. Burning usually combines a solid/liquid combustible with ambient oxygen in the air. Burning wood or oil fit this category. The speed of the reaction is limited by the low density of air and the low surface area of the combustant.

Deflagration gives a push type explosion- the shock wave travels slower than the speed of sound in the affected substance. This usually is a mixture of distinct oxidant and combustant chemicals in a single mixture of liquid or solid. Since the oxidants used are usually denser than air, the reaction progresses faster. Blackpowder is a great example, as is the ANFO bomb used in OK city. Some explosives of this type are powerful enough to be considered high explosives.

Detonation gives a shatter type explosion- the shock wave travels faster than the speed of sound in the affected substance. This causes substances to shatter rather than deform or get pushed out of the way. This can be done with the "deflagrate" type of explosive, but usually a high explosive is used. In high explosive, each molecule of the substance contains both the combustant and the oxidant. Really, this is not so much traditional combustion as it is exothermal decay. The molecules break apart to form more stable gaseous products and a ton of heat. The heat plus the phase change causes the explosive to near-instantly occupy a far greater volume of space than it did previously, causing enormous amounts of damage to anything nearby.

As my apparently ignored post above states, the problem isnt the definition but the fact that chemicals that fit in one category can easily be moved to any other category with only slight modification or combination with other chemicals. The basic elements of explosives manufacture havent really changed much in the past century and all of them have innocent uses. I think we just have better quality control so we get more performance out of things like gunpowder. Just like many unscheduled substances can be converted to schedule 1 narcotics with only household supplies.

Waitone
February 12, 2006, 02:19 AM
JPFO has been locked up with bATFE over the bureau's evident lack of testing standards as pertaining to determining if a firearm is an automatic. Seems in one case bATFE determined a shoelace some how bestowed automatic firing capabilities on a semi-auto rifle.

So we have JPFO thumping the bureau and now a judge takes a swing. Making progress.

Strings
February 12, 2006, 02:51 AM
Might not be the great "slam dunk" we all wanna see, but it IS a step in the right direction...

Merkin.Muffley
February 12, 2006, 02:53 AM
This is unfortunate. If they're can't go on hassling the model rocket people - they be hassling gun owners. Personally, I'd rather they spend their time and our money on the rocket people.

Zedicus
February 12, 2006, 04:39 AM
this is awflly simmalar to when the FAA tried to do much the same to the RC Model Airplane/Jet/Hellecopter Hobbys, what a waste of our tax dollars...:barf:

gc70
February 12, 2006, 01:12 PM
This court decision really does little more than ensure that more taxpayer money will be wasted by the BATFE. The decision basically slapped the BATFE for not providing some type of rationale for its actions that would provide the judges cover for deferring to the agency's expertise.

The decision actually provides the BATFE with a roadmap of the different ways to get beyond "because we said so" and provide the "and here's why" support that would satisfy the court. You can be absolutely sure that the BATFE will go back and cobble together some reasons for its actions and be back in court wasting taxpayer money.

One absolute about government is that they have the people, time, and taxpayer money to keep banging away at an issue until they win.

V4Vendetta
February 12, 2006, 01:20 PM
That is really the saddest thing I have read in a while. I sickens me to think how much of my money is being used to fund an attack upon my rights at the hands of the various alphabet soup agencies and their minions.


If it cheers you up, our tax money does go toward some good things. Libraries, roads, plenty of material for SNL.:)

Third_Rail
February 12, 2006, 01:27 PM
WOOHOO!


I've been mailed letters/visited by the BATFE for reasons like this. NO MORE! :D :D :D

Fletchette
February 12, 2006, 02:41 PM
A little sub-story related to this case:

It seems that the ATF wanted to "prove" the dangers of allowing common proles such as ourselves to practice a hobby like model rocketry, so they designed a test. They bought 20 kits from a vendor (who initially refused to sell to them when he found out who they were but was hit with some sort of legal order forcing him to sell) and tried to shoot them off in a salvo from a van to hit a radio-controlled airplane. Well, as fate would have it, the rockets did not fire in a complete slavo, started a fire that ignited other rocket motors within the van, and completley burned the van to a crisp. Radio controlled airplane continued flying merrily along...

This incident was omitted from the court evidence, obviously. Daffy Duck could not have done better!

Kodiaz
February 12, 2006, 02:45 PM
So that's how the Waco fire started.



The only time I'll take the ATF over a bunch of clowns that were rejected by the circus is if I want something burned down to ashes. By mistake.


Remember the A is for Arson

TexasRifleman
February 12, 2006, 03:20 PM
A little sub-story related to this case:

It seems that the ATF wanted to "prove" the dangers of allowing common proles such as ourselves to practice a hobby like model rocketry, so they designed a test. They bought 20 kits from a vendor (who initially refused to sell to them when he found out who they were but was hit with some sort of legal order forcing him to sell) and tried to shoot them off in a salvo from a van to hit a radio-controlled airplane. Well, as fate would have it, the rockets did not fire in a complete slavo, started a fire that ignited other rocket motors within the van, and completley burned the van to a crisp. Radio controlled airplane continued flying merrily along...

This incident was omitted from the court evidence, obviously. Daffy Duck could not have done better!


If you have a valid source for that story it would be so great!

I'd like to see documentation though....

AZRickD
February 12, 2006, 04:02 PM
Documentation?

I'd like to see that video placed on www.thatvideosite.com right next to the Rasta DEA buffoon.

and completely burned the van to a crisp.

Ya know, I started this thread to remind folks of what dangerous ditzes the folks at F-Troop are. I never expected the thread to be *this* much fun.

Rick

ElTacoGrande
February 12, 2006, 06:03 PM
Documentation?

I'd like to see that video placed on www.thatvideosite.com right next to the Rasta DEA buffoon.


I couldn't find it. If you saved it, could you post it to: http://draganddropupload.com and post a link to it?

Chrontius
February 12, 2006, 06:51 PM
Google for:

ATFE rocket burn van

I don't have the bandwidth and I don't think that a video exists outside of the ATFE, but... you'll find lots of stuff on this.

Kodiaz
February 12, 2006, 07:25 PM
If someone finds that video please post it.

ElTacoGrande
February 12, 2006, 07:42 PM
If someone finds that video please post it.

I've searched all around, and I find lots of references to the incident (google on atfe j350 van video) and I find rumors of a video but I can't find the video itself.

Surely this video would be available under the FOIA but that is way more work than I have time for right now.

If anyone can find that video by some chance please use the video hosting service to post it.

AZRickD
February 12, 2006, 08:05 PM
Here is the Rasta-DEA video -- this is the longest version I've found so far...

http://www.flurl.com/display_entry.php?id=121393

Flurl snags stuff from other websites. This was found at www.ogrish.com

------------------

Here is a rocketry forum (circa 2003) where they discuss the bully tactics of F-troop...

http://www.bautforum.com/archive/index.php/t-21650.html

ATFE Forces Aerotech To Provide Motors For ATFE Anti-Rocketry Video
link (http://www.space-rockets.com/arsanews#force)

December 20, 2003 - Since the publication by ARSA of the ATFE's attempt to produce an anti-rocketry video on the dangers of hobby rockets to commercial aircraft, vendors and manufacturers have refused to sell to the ATFE. This resulted in a letter from the ATFE to the president of Aerotech, Gary Rosenfield demanding that they deliver 40 G80 motors to the ATFE. The ATFE letter claimed the hobby rocket motors were needed in the interest of national security. The letter claimed Aerotech had no other option under the law and the motors were to be delivered to ATFE agent David Shatzer. Aerotech delivered the motors on December 9th.

And the torched van rumor:

Did The ATFE Accidently "Torch" Their Van?
link (http://www.space-rockets.com/arsanews#torch)

December 20, 2003 - Rumors have been circulating through the rocketry community for over a month that the ATFE accidently "torched" their van when trying to launch a high power rocket out of it. According to the story, the ATFE and their contractor Applied Research Associates were conducting tests on November 3rd to provide proof that high power rockets could be used to shoot down commercial aircraft during landings and takeoffs. (See related story by clicking here (http://www.space-rockets.com/arsanews#atfe).) Apparently, one of the motors failed upon ignition sending a burning gain into a box inside the van. The box contained several propellant grains for further tests that day. The propellant gains inside the box ignited. This resulted in the entire van being destroyed in a roaring inferno as ATFE agents and Applied Research Associate employees stood by and watched. Also, according to the story, video was taken of the test and the resulting fire. To complicate matters further for the ATFE, the van was believed to have been a rental.

ARSA has been trying to confirm or disprove this story, but has not been able to locate anyone with first hand knowledge of the incident. However, Bruce Kelly from the Tripoli Rocketry Association sent out a communication where they state the incident to be true.

------------

Clarification from one of the Rocket bigwigs on the forum...

=== Tripoli Statement To Members:

1. There is a rumor floating around about ATF "blowing up" a truck during the Utah tests. Most of what is being said is inaccurate. Here is what we know.

ATF, through the USAF, hired an independent contractor to conduct some tests. ATF purchased a number of J350, G80s and other motors for these tests. They also purchased some kits from at least 2 manufacturers. The tests, being conducted here in Utah (off I80, north of mile marker 60) have been taking place most of November through last week.

Supposedly, they affixed a launcher in the back of a van and were launching from the van. As to why, we can only speculate. They also had numerous reloads in the same van while launching. One of the J350s catoed and ignited the rest, burning the van to the ground. (It did not blow up, it just burned up.) So much for hired experts who supposedly should know better.

=== End of Tripoli Statement


Idiot F-troopers.

Rick

El Tejon
February 12, 2006, 08:12 PM
AZ, thanks for the Rasta Narc video. I have tears of joy every time I see that. Fantastic! Every time I hear "highly trained police officer" I think about Rasta Narc.

I don't have to mock feds in court and at depositions; they do it for me.:D

AZRickD
February 12, 2006, 08:19 PM
Yes. They do, do that, don't they?

Note the talk of the "anti-rocketry video." Of course, this is the rocketeer's take on all of this, but we know that this is F-Troop's stock in trade. Remember that Waco "Showtime! Showtime! Showtime!" was a publicity stunt designed to fit into the Congressional budget sessions where F-Troop was predicted to take a beating for all of their ill-deeds. This anti-rocket docu-drama they were said to be making sounds like something to allow them to justify yet another power grab.

Beware of .gov-types doing research. There is an axiom among policy wonks who know data: "That which gets measured, gets done."

Know it; fear it.

Rick

ElTacoGrande
February 12, 2006, 09:13 PM
Here is the Rasta-DEA video -- this is the longest version I've found so far...

http://www.flurl.com/display_entry.php?id=121393


Now THAT is hilarious. He just shoots himself in the foot, and tries to continue the safety lecture, but his assistant won't give him any other guns to demo with, and the "management" realizes "the show is over, can you please send someone to get this clown out of here before he shoots someone other than himself?"

RocketMan
February 12, 2006, 10:06 PM
This is unfortunate. If they're can't go on hassling the model rocket people - they be hassling gun owners. Personally, I'd rather they spend their time and our money on the rocket people.
Merkin, just so you know, many rocket people are gun people. For the most part we're on the same side. Any victory against the BATFE is a victory for all of us.

RocketMan
NAR Level 2 High Power Rocketeer

ElTacoGrande
February 12, 2006, 10:44 PM
Merkin, just so you know, many rocket people are gun people. For the most part we're on the same side. Any victory against the BATFE is a victory for all of us.


Senor Rocket, I'm sure Merkin was was jokin'. With a name like Merkin you know he has a sense of humor. I think he was probably using humor to make a point that "gun freedom" may be a bigger issue than just guns and could bring in people who may not even own or care about guns.

AZRickD
February 12, 2006, 11:19 PM
Originally Posted by RocketMan Merkin, just so you know, many rocket people are gun people.

Oh, so now you're the expert on Rocket guns, eh?

I'm sure Merkin was was jokin'. With a name like Merkin you know he has a sense of humor.

We are not amused.

Rick
Using the Royal Oui

RocketMan
February 13, 2006, 09:35 PM
[QUOTE=AZRickD]Oh, so now you're the expert on Rocket guns, eh?

I'm guessing there was supposed to be a smiley after that?

AZRickD
February 13, 2006, 10:00 PM
Yes. But oui are still not amused. :neener:

Rick

LAK
February 14, 2006, 06:32 AM
So, even the BATFE - home of the sixty-five thousand dollar conference table to discuss the sixty-four thousand dollar questions - can not change a propellant into an explosive.
-----------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

Waitone
February 14, 2006, 07:37 AM
So, even the BATFE - home of the sixty-five thousand dollar conference table to discuss the sixty-four thousand dollar questions - can not change a propellant into an explosive.Doo tell. However, if JPFO is correct bATFE 's strong suit has never been technology despite its charter which is to bureaucrat what is at its core issues of technology. bATFE is a bureaucracy first and foremost. It it wants to snap fingers and do things contrary to the laws of science it will do so.

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