December 27th, 2010

DOT Plans New Ammo Shipping Regulations

Story by Larry Keane, NSSF
DOT ORM-D AmmunitionSince the early 1970s, ammunition being shipped in the United States has been classified under “Other Regulated Materials” — class D (ORM-D) regulations. This precludes the need for hazardous material (HazMat) shipping charges and other expensive handling requirements. The savings to the industry has been estimated at more than $300 million per year.

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) recognized a potential risk of losing ORM-D status due to the emerging “global harmonization” of shipping regulations. Simply put, the U.S. was likely to adopt United Nations (UN) regulations in an attempt to help ease the global shipping process by adhering to one uniform policy. The problem with shifting to UN regulations is that there is no “ORM-D” status, so if/when this happened, ammunition would have to be shipped under the UN 1.4s category — a category that includes HazMat fees.

DOT ORM-D AmmunitionSAAMI petitioned the world body to change its shipping regulations to allow for a Limited Quantity (LQ) exemption for class 1.4s products that meet certain testing criteria. Then, SAAMI proved that ammunition meets these criteria. The LQ exemption for loaded ammunition would allow countries to adopt regulations very similar to the current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ORM-D classification, yet still be in alignment with global shipping regulations.

‘LQ’ Ammo Shipping Class Will Replace ‘ORM-D’
The UN has adopted SAAMI’s petition and the new international regulation have become final. In the meantime, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has announced sweeping changes to U.S. regulations that will harmonize them with the international regulations. Included in these upcoming changes are the elimination of ORM-D status and the addition of the LQ exemption for ammunition . The net result is that while the regulations will change, shipment of ammunition in the U.S will continue without additional fees and handling requirements. So you will still be able to ship loaded ammo with NO Haz-Mat Fees, but in the future, the ORM-D status will change to LQ exempt status.

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