By Brent I. Clark, James L. Curtis, and Craig B. Simonsen

iStock_000011654038_LargeThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in its recent ATF EXPLOSIVES Industry Newsletter, informed the industry of a new voluntary “process to better track industry-owned explosives storage magazines.”

The Bureau noted that during natural disasters, local emergencies, and civil unrest, the ATF assists emergency responders in securing nearby explosives. In these situations, the ATF provides information on the location of explosives magazines within an affected area. According to the ATF, with the current processes, “it is difficult to identify industry-owned magazines across the country in a timely manner for emergency notifications.”

The ATF indicates that a significant obstacle to emergency responder notification is the lack of a unique identifier for each industry magazine. Although the ATF maintains GPS coordinates for magazines, the coordinates “can’t be used as unique identifiers since readings can vary slightly from one inspection to another, and the coordinates sometimes refer to groups of magazines.”

The ATF has announced that after consulting with explosives industry members and associations, it will, with the “voluntary participation of industry members,” have Industry Operations Investigators affix “small labels with unique numbers to interior magazine walls during routine inspections.” The ATF will also replace damaged, missing, or destroyed labels during subsequent inspections. The ATF states that this program will not place any burden or responsibility upon industry members or change their internal magazine designations.

The labels, as shown in the sample below, “will not contain other information or electronically track the magazines.”

ATF Label

While the new labeling program is voluntary, the ATF is encouraging licensees and permittees to participate to ensure the success of the program.