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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by AZRickD, Feb 11, 2006.

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  1. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    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:

    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
     
  2. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    We need a looser pays system or something similar.
     
  3. ElTacoGrande

    ElTacoGrande Member

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    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.
     
  4. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  5. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    There's a quote for you :D
     
  6. Fletchette

    Fletchette Member

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    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.
     
  7. Kodiaz

    Kodiaz member

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    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:
     
  8. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    Here is some historical background from a friend who used to be on the national board. Readers Digest version -- "I told ya so."

     
  9. Kodiaz

    Kodiaz member

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    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.
     
  10. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    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.
     
  11. rallyhound

    rallyhound Member

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    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.
     
  12. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    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:
     
  13. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  14. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    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
     
  15. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    If this had dealt with guns, that's exactly what would have been said.
     
  16. Kodiaz

    Kodiaz member

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    Good point must have been one of those "activist" judges. Not letting the ATF do whatever they want.
     
  17. cpileri

    cpileri Member

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    yeah!

    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-
     
  18. One of Many

    One of Many Member

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    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.
     
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    [WINCE] Well said! [/WINCE]
     
  20. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    ___ 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."
     
  21. Spec ops Grunt

    Spec ops Grunt Member

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    This all stems from the new deal. We really need to get rid of this spilt mess of alphabet soup.
     
  22. cpileri

    cpileri Member

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    good enough

    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-
     
  23. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  24. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    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.
     
  25. Strings

    Strings Member

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    Might not be the great "slam dunk" we all wanna see, but it IS a step in the right direction...
     
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