Rocketry Exemption Senate Bill S724

March 29, 2003 - Senator Mike Enzi (R - Wyoming) introduced a bill in the United States Senate on March 27, 2003 to give hobby rocketeers an exemption from the Safe Explosives Act contained in the Homeland Security Bill. The bill, if passed and signed into law, would eliminate the need for ATFE permits or licenses from certain materials on the ATFE Explosives List provided these materials are used in rockets that do not carry any of the following:

If your rocket does not carry any of the above, then the following items are exempt from the Safe Explosives Act when used in your rocket.

Where a non-detonable rocket propellant is defined as: "any material, chemical, or chemical mixture consisting of fuel and oxidizer that provides thrust to a rocket, or generates hot, high pressure gas for doing work in the actuation of various power or mechanical devices, and is classified as a non-explosive by the Department of Transportation or classified by the Department of Transportation as a Class 1.3 Explosive or lower.". All rocket propellants sold by rocket manufacturers to consumers fit the definition of a non-detonable propellant.

An the individual buying consumer rocket motors, regardless of the propellant weight, will not need an ATFE permit or license to buy, store or use the motor if the rocket it is intended to be used in does not carry any of the items listed in Table 1. The same individual may also buy, store and use any of the items listed in Table 2 without an ATFE permit or licensee provided those items are intended to be used in a rocket that does not carry any of the items listed in Table 1. The individual may also make Items 2 through 6 in Table 2 for use in the same rocket.

An individual making their own rocket motors will not need an ATFE permit or licensee to manufacture, store or use the motor provided the motor uses a non-detonable rocket propellant (as defined above) and the motor is intended to be used in a rocket that does not carry any of the items listed in Table 1. The same individual may also buy, store and use any of the items listed in Table 2 without an ATFE permit or licensee provided those items are intended to be used in a rocket that does not carry any of the items listed in Table 1. The individual may also make Items 2 through 6 in Table 2 for use in the same rocket.

If the bill is passed by the Senate, House of Representatives and signed into law by the President before May 24, 2003, it will take effect on May 24th. If it becomes law after May 24, 2003, it will take effect on the day it is signed by the President. A copy of the Senate bill S724 is shown below. You may also download a copy in Adobe Acrobat format.

Click here for Rocketry Exemption Bill in PDF format (28K)


A BILL S724

To amend title 18, United States Code, to exempt certain rocket propellants from prohibitions under that title on explosive materials. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. EXEMPTION OF CERTAIN ROCKET PROPELLANTS FROM CRIMINAL PROHIBITIONS ON EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS.

(a) NON-DETONABLE ROCKET PROPELLANT DEFINED.-Section 841 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

''(t) 'Non-detonable rocket propellant' means any material, chemical, or chemical mixture consisting of fuel and oxidizer that provides thrust to a rocket, or generates hot, high pressure gas for doing work in the actuation of various power or mechanical devices, and is classified as a non-explosive by the Department of Transportation or classified by the Department of Transportation as a Class 1.3 Explosive or lower.''.

(b) EXEMPTION.-Section 845(a) of that title is 8 amended-

(1) in paragraph (5), by striking ''and'' at the end;

(2) in paragraph (6), by striking the period at the end and inserting ''; and''; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

''(7) commercially manufactured black powder in quantities not to exceed two pounds, safety and pyrotechnic fuses, quick and slow matches, electric matches, igniters, or non-detonable rocket propellant intended to be used in rockets that do not carry any- ''(A) explosive, incendiary, or poison gas; ''(B) bomb; ''(C) grenade; ''(D) explosive or incendiary charge of more than three-quarter ounce; ''(E) mine; or ''(F) device similar to any device referred to in subparagraphs (A) through (E).''.

(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.-(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act. (2) If the date of the enactment of this section is less than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296), the amendments made by this section shall take effect immediately after the entry into effect of the amendments made by section 1122 of that Act (116 Stat. 2280) pursuant to subsection (i) of such section 1122 (116 Stat. 2283).