August 2007

Down Range: 08/07

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed new rules that would have a dramatic effect on the

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

storage and transportation of ammunition and handloading components such as primers or black and smokeless powder.

The proposed rule indiscriminately treats ammunition, powder, and primers as "explosives." It could wreck the gun business. The proposed rule would:

I Prohibit possession of firearms in commercial "facilities containing explosives." What about your local gun store? l Require evacuation of all "facilities containing explosives" during any electrical storm. l Prohibit smoking within 50 feet of "facilities containing explosives."

These regulations, if finalized, would make it next to impossible to sell guns and ammunition. The public-comment period lasts until September 10, 2007. To file your own comment, or to learn more about the OSHA proposal, go to ( and search for Docket Number OSHA-2007-0032.

Lawyers, Guns and Money. Yes, it is the title to a Warren Zevon song, but it’s also the headline on an interesting piece by Elaine McArdle in the Harvard Law Bulletin.

In the piece, McArdle writes about the Parker v. District of Columbia verdict, and says of it: "In the cultural and legal battle over gun control, the decision was the proverbial shot heard ‘round the world…

"The ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia marked the first time a gun law has been found unconstitutional based on the Second Amendment, and it set up a direct conflict among the circuits…."

She further makes the case that Parker is custom-made to force the Supreme Court to settle the Second Amendment question.

McArdle writes, "If Parker is the long-awaited ‘clean’ case, one reason may be that lawyers for the National Rifle Association—who helped steer the legal strategy of the plaintiffs and backed them financially—have learned from earlier defeats, and crafted the case to maximize the chances of Supreme Court review."

The six plaintiffs in Parker include a woman who has been threatened by drug dealers, a gay man assaulted because of his sexual orientation and a special police officer for the Federal Judicial Center. And, the laws challenged in Parker are among the most stringent in the nation.

But one of the biggest reasons McArdle cites that the Supremes might hear Parker is that because "…In the past 20 years, several prominent legal scholars known for liberal views, including Professor Laurence Tribe, have come to believe that the Second Amendment supports the individual-rights view.

"My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise," Tribe said in a recent New York Times interview. "I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control." GT