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AnaLog's Comments - ATF (ATFE) Notice 968

April 27, 2003


James P. Ficaretta, Program Manager
Room 5150
Bureau of ATF
P.O. Box 50221
Washington, DC  20091-0221


Attention:  Notice 968  -  Formal Written Comments

Re:  Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
        Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 19, January 29, 2003

The following constitutes the formal written comments of AnaLog Services, Inc., and Syd H. Levine, individually.  AnaLog Services, Inc. holds an ATFE explosives license and is a small business entity.  AnaLog Services, Inc. does repair and modification work for independent well logging/wireline/perforating companies all over the United States (these companies are usually ATFE licensees and small businesses).  We appreciate this opportunity to offer our comments.

Economic Impact

It is sheer fantasy to assert the proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action.  Further, the proposed rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, including virtually every independent logging/wireline/perforating company in the country.  The change in lock specifications alone will cost many thousands of dollars to implement on the many magazines that will be affected.  Magazine construction changes will cost many times that.

To base the "no significant economic impact" certification on the lack of response to the Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis set forth in T.D. ATF-293 and comments received on Notice No. 845 is disingenuous, to say the least.  Small business entities cannot possibly keep up with the flood of regulatory activity.  The commentors herein were completely unaware of said previous activities, but would have commented given an opportunity.

Notification of Magazine Changes

55.63(c) would seem to prohibit acquisition by a licensee of any magazine without prior notice.  What is a licensee supposed to do when he or she has an opportunity to buy a magazine on short notice, as at public auction?  What of a licensee wishing to acquire a magazine with no immediate intent to use it, or with the intent to hold it for resale?  The rule and the preamble language is problematic as it is now worded and should be clarified to make it clear that notice is required only for magazines actually intended to be placed into service.

Type 1 Magazines

The new requirements at 55.207 will be very burdensome on the regulated community.  The changes contemplated are not trivial.  The logic behind the change from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch shackle padlocks is far from clear.  If proper hoods are in place, then it is impossible to use a bolt cutter.  Since the only practical way to defeat properly designed hoods is with a cutting torch, the difference between a 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch shackle becomes irrelevant (a torch makes short work of either).  Any individual determined enough to defeat the hood device will certainly find any padlock easy enough to defeat.

Type 2 Magazines

ATF issued a variance allowing mobile outdoor Type 2 magazines to have only one lock and no hood requirement.  It is no surprise that this profoundly dumb variance resulted in the bad guys attacking these easy targets.  As discussed above, if these magazines are secured with two properly hooded locks, it is not likely that 1/2 inch shackle padlocks offer more security than 3/8 inch shackle locks (any increase in security would be truly de minimis).

But ATF proposes to punish users of Type 2 indoor magazines for its wrong headed variance as well.  It is even less likely that properly hooded indoor magazines would benefit from 1/2 inch shackle locks over the present 3/8 inch.  After a crook defeats the security of the building itself, he or she has the luxury of a protected environment in which to ply the trade.  Again, if a cutting torch or other tool is capable of defeating the hoods, the added security of a 1/2 inch over a 3/8 inch padlock will make little or no difference.  Properly hooded 3/8 inch padlocks offer a high level of security, and unless ATF has compelling evidence to the contrary, it is inappropriate and unnecessary to impose this new requirement, especially for indoor magazines.

Costs

As stated previously, ATF grossly underestimates the economic impact of this rulemaking.  In particular, the modification of just Type 2 interior magazines will be burdensome and logistically difficult.  Every well logging/perforator in the country has at least one Type 2 interior magazine, and often several.  It is unlikely 1/2 inch shackle locks will fit the existing staples/hasps or hoods of existing magazines.  In a worst case scenario, magazine contents will have to be removed (a security risk in and of itself) so the cutting of existing hardware and the welding of replacement hardware can be accomplished.  With the considerable higher cost of 1/2 inch shackle locks, this could easily cost hundreds of dollars per magazine for indoor magazines.  No attempt is made here to assign actual dollar values to the proposed requirements for outdoor magazines, but they will clearly be substantial.

Thank you.


AnaLog Services, Inc.


_____________________________
Syd H. Levine, President


_____________________________
Syd H. Levine, Individually



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04-29-03