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Montana ammo casing processor raid recalls warnings of anti-gun agenda at OSHA

Did environmental and worker safety concerns over processing once-fired casings justify a multi-agency show of force by agents and enforcers typically deployed against criminals?
Did environmental and worker safety concerns over processing once-fired casings justify a multi-agency show of force by agents and enforcers typically deployed against criminals?Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A morning raid was conducted against a Montana used ammunition casing processor by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Division and the Bozeman Police over “alleged violations of environmental law,” NBC KTVM reported Thursday, leading to speculation this week’s action ties in with that lead exposure violations identified last fall.

“Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, workers found the company overexposed workers to lead and failed to provide basic safeguards to reduce lead exposure, including breathing protection and protective clothing,” the report recalls, noting “In September of 2013 the US Department of Labor cited USA Brass with 10 serious violations and proposed more than $45,000 in penalties and fines.”

Why such apparent sweeping and coordinated law enforcement action is considered a justifiable and standard practice against American citizens and businesses is a fair question. Without a record of criminal activities and resistance meriting deployments backed by lethal force capabilities, an audit team with a warrant would seem more than adequate in the case of an established company that proudly bills itself an "industry leader."

That makes it also fair to speculate on how agencies seemingly unrelated to the administration’s war on guns can be used to advance that agenda, and why appointments of anti-gunners to head such agencies pose valid concerns for gun owners, as the recent flap over Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General confirms, and in spite of “progressive” objections that such fears are unfounded.

Case in point, since OSHA is mentioned as a possible catalyst in Thursday’s Bozeman raid by other agencies, this column warned back in 2009 that Obama’s pick to head the agency, David Michaels, was strongly anti-gun and committed to using regulatory schemes to get his way. At the time of his nomination, this column advocated organized opposition, including scoring confirmation votes against gun group ratings and contacting the appropriate Senate committee, even reminding readers of Michaels’ organizational connections with George Soros (himself a backer of draconian international citizen disarmament efforts).

That these appeals failed, first in committee and then by unanimous consent in the Senate, do not negate the rightness of such opposition. It points instead to a failure to heed warnings, something seemingly confirmed by the citation of an Illinois gun range for lead violations in 2012.

While it’s fair to debate the appropriate Constitutional role of the federal and local governments in the issue of negligent exposure to lead and other health-impacting substances, the intent here is not to give reloading component processors or gun ranges or firearms-related industries a pass on legitimate liability concerns. That said, administration intent to go after gun owners and their suppliers every which way it can, the sympathies of key regulatory players, the all too-frequent use-of-force alliances between federal and local enforcers, and the all too often unquestioning “reporting” by “Authorized Journalists” should not be overlooked as potential factors behind such dramatic actions.

Especially since finding novel ways to block ammunition supplies appears to be an ongoing priority with unaccountable federal bureaucrats.

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