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Raid on brass processor attributed to lack of subservience to government

Is "brass" more descriptive of an attitude with some regulators demanding fealty than anything else?
Is "brass" more descriptive of an attitude with some regulators demanding fealty than anything else?
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A late March raid on a Bozeman, Montana ammunition case processor was due more to the company not showing proper deference to government regulators than it was about lack of compliance with environmental rules, the head a statewide gun rights group charged in a press release Tuesday.

“Several months ago, [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] OSHA visited the business, USA Brass, because of allegations of workplace safety issues, notably lead dust in the air from tumbling fired brass (the lead dust would be from fired primers),” Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association wrote in a follow-up investigation of the raid. “There were two employees who had lead levels above what is acceptable. As a result, USA Brass invested a lot of money in expensive air filtration and ventilation equipment, and upgraded employee training and practices.

“USA Brass passed a subsequent inspection by OSHA,” Marbut wrote. “However, upon OSHA’s first visit, I’m told, USA Brass managers didn’t kneel quickly enough to OSHA inspectors and offended them by not being subserviently cooperative. So, the subsequent raid by EPA, FBI and others was conducted to teach them a lesson about federal power and proper cooperation.”

Marbut included copies of an April 4 letter he sent to Michael W. Cotter, the U.S. Attorney for Montana, who has not responded, and an April 10 letter he then sent to Attorney General of Montana Tim Fox. Both letters were intended to elicit investigations of federal conduct during the raids, including an “unverified report ... that the initial entry into USA Brass by federal personnel was made with tactical weapons (machine guns) held pointed at the non-resisting office workers and other USA Brass employees present.

“Lawyers for USA Brass have persuaded the principals that they should hunker down and make no waves, for fear of triggering more Draconian and punitive federal actions,” Marbut related, explaining the company’s relative silence over the past few weeks.

In a tangentially-related story, Marbut is also the originator and driving force behind the Government Worker Licensing Act, proposed legislation to exert state authority over federal employees and to require training in rights to be part of their certification requirement through their police powers to oversee occupational licensing.

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