The ATF started really harassing the model rocketry folks a few years back. Today they got their wrists slapped:
District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton for the District of Columbia today issued an order finding in favor of the Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry vs. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The decision followed a status hearing this past Friday in Washington.
Walton’s order granted a summary judgment motion in favor of the plaintiffs TRA and NAR, denied the summary judgment motion of BATFE, and vacated the classification of Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) as an explosive.
The parties came before the Court on March 13, 2009, for a hearing on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment. Upon consideration of the parties’ written submissions, the administrative record presented to the Court, the applicable legal authority, the oral arguments presented by the parties, and for the reasons expressed by the Court at the hearing on the motion, the Court finds that the agency’s decision does not satisfy the standard for evaluating agency rulemaking because it was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law. 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). Specifically, the defendant did not adequately explain why it came to the decision it did in light of contrary evidence in the administrative record submitted by the plaintiffs, which tended to show that APCP can burn at a rate lower than that which the defendant designated as the threshold, and “which, if true, . . . would require a change in [the] proposed rule.’” La. Fed. Land Bank Ass’n, FLCA v. Farm Credit Admin., 336 F.3d 1075, 1080 (D.C. Cir. 2003); see D&F Afonso Realty Trust v. Garvey, 216 F.3d 1191, 1195 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting Public Citizen, Inc. v. F.A.A., 988 F.2d 186, 197 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (”‘[t]he requirement that agency action not be arbitrary or capricious includes a requirement that the agency adequately explain its result . . . .’”). Here, the agency’s shortcoming was its failure to articulate any rationale for finding that the relevant and significant evidence in the record that conflicted with its position was unpersuasive, which it seemingly out-of-hand dismissed merely because it was contrary to the agency’s ultimate conclusion.
I hope this is but one of many more to come in regards to both firearms and explosives. It’s long past time they were told in no uncertain terms they must obey the law.