Last Wednesday Bush signed into law a new restriction on our freedom which does nothing but create another bureaucracy. The Los Angles Times has a pretty good write up on it but the tone is “the Feds should have done more”:
Ammonium nitrate regulated — sort of
The fertilizer can be used in explosives. Some in law enforcement and counter-terrorism wanted much tighter controls than Congress passed.
More than 12 years after Timothy J. McVeigh used ammonium nitrate fertilizer to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, Congress quietly passed legislation this month to regulate sales of the explosive.
But the Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act of 2007, part of an appropriations measure signed Wednesday by President Bush, falls far short of the strict law that some in the counter-terrorism community and federal law enforcement were hoping for.
Outside groups are asking for tougher action. “Congress simply didn’t understand what it was doing,” said Peter Stockton, senior investigator for one of the groups, the Project on Government Oversight, which is a watchdog on national security issues.
“Maybe they thought doing something was better than nothing.”
The text of the actual law is here. Assuming I’m reading the version of the bill that was actually signed there is an exemption for people with an explosives license (me). The biggest impact I see to most readers of this blog is that if you want to buy Target Master Exploding Targets or Tannerite maybe you should do it now. Both of those products use ammonium nitrate as their primary ingredient.
This law also affects farmers in a big way.
Under the new law you will be required to register with “Homeland Security” before you can manufacture, sell, or buy, AN. The seller will be required to maintain records. If anyone violates these new regulations they can be fined up to $50,000 per violation.
There will be regulations implemented which will provide “guidance” on storage and sales which of course will do nothing but harass the innocent. Just like the regulations on firearms do nothing the terrorists that want to do evil will steal their materials or use a strawman. Or if they are suicide bombers they will just go through the registration process and buy it just like legitimate users. It’s not that difficult to manufacture either. The chemical formula is NH4NO3. The elements to manufacture it can all be obtained from the air. Try regulating those precursor chemicals.
Like Stockton, above, I think they just wanted to “do something”. And as I pointed out in my QOTD today even “experts” (I hesitate to call anyone who works for the government an expert on anything other than government) don’t think it does anything for security. It’s nothing but more security theater for the masses.