Since the early 1970’s, 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 $300,000,000 per year.
In 2005, 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 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.
With SAAMI’s Non-Government Organization (NGO) status in the UN, it 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 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.
We are pleased to report that the UN has voted to adopt SAAMI’s petition and the new international regulation will become final in December. In the meantime, the U.S. DOT has announced sweeping changes to U.S. regulations that will harmonize them with the international regulations. Included in these 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.