March 18th, 2009

Surplus U.S. Military Brass Remains Available — Mutilation Orders Reversed

Over the past few days, there has been a storm of controversy surrounding sales of surplus U.S. military cartridge brass. The concern arose because DOD Surplus, LLC had announced to wholesale brass purchasers that future shipments of spent cartridge cases would have to be “mutilated” and sold as scrap metal. (DOD Surplus, LLC sells surplus brass under a contract with the Department of Defense.)

Shooters nationwide, fearing that surplus U.S. military brass would no longer be available, protested loudly to members of Congress and Department of Defense officials.

We are pleased to report that the “mutilation” requirement has been rescinded, and vendors such as Georgia Arms and GI Brass will continue to sell reloadable surplus cartridge cases obtained from the U.S. military.

How the Controversy Arose
The Department of Defense (DOD), on behalf of all the branches of the military, collects fired shell cases. Rather than sell surplus brass directly, the DOD has disposal contracts with DOD Surplus, LLC and Government Liquidation, LLC, two private companies. These companies aggregate and sell the brass in bulk to wholesalers, primarily through online auctions.

DOD Surplus, LLC had notified Georgia Arms that future lots of surplus brass would be subject to a NEW multilation requirement, effectively rendering the brass useless for reloading.

Where did that “mutilation” requirement come from? Was this some evil, new directive from the White House? Apparently not. Here’s what happened. Surplus brass has been handled under a “DEMIL B” product category. Prior to 11/2008, DEMIL B items required no mutilation for sale to the public. That policy changed last November, but several exemptions (waivers) were granted. Expended munitions brass was covered by a waiver.

After the new administration took office, some new manager, probably in the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), eliminated ALL exemptions for DEMIL B products. Why this was done, we don’t really know. It appears no consideration was given to the impact on the shooting industry. But this elimination of the DEMIL B brass waiver was communicated to DOD Surplus, LLC last week. DOD Surplus, LLC, in turn, told its purchasers that milsurp brass would have to be mutilated (rendered unusable) from here on out.

DOD Surplus brass

Surplus Brass Now Re-Classified DEMIL Q, so No Mutilation Required
Yesterday, March 17, at 5:15 pm a letter cosigned by Senator Tester (D-MT) and Senator Baucus (D-MT) was faxed to the Department of Defense asking DOD to reverse its new policy requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass. That joint letter, combined with thousands of email messages sent to Washington, convinced the DOD to reverse the recent change in surplus brass policy.

At 5:30 PM on the 17th, the DOD faxed Senator Tester’s office announcing that the policy requiring multilation of surplus brass had been rescinded. Specifically, surplus military cartridge brass has been reclassified as a “DEMIL Q” product (not “DEMIL B” as before). DEMIL Q requires no product mutilation unless the item is sold to a foreign country.

BOTTOM LINE: Stocks of U.S. Military surplus cartridge brass will continue to be offered for sale, via wholesalers, to the general public. Problem solved. As announced by Georgia Arms: “DOD Surplus, LLC, has rescinded its prior directive that ALL small arms spent casings be mutilated rather than recycled. This was a huge victory for common sense and we would like to thank each and every person who made an effort and played a role in correcting this mistake.”

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