November 05, 2003

I HATE the scumbags at the BATFE

November 4, 2003 - The ATFE and its contractor, Applied Research Associates, have been purchasing high power rocket motors, rocket kits, launch rails, electrical launchers and other items to conduct tests at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The purpose of the tests is to provide proof that high power rockets can be used to shoot down commercial aircraft during landings and takeoffs. The tests will be documented by videotape. It is expected that the video tape will be
released during a press conference for maximum media exposure.

The ATFE plans were first discovered by a high power rocket vendor who recognized the name of ATFE agent, David Shatzer, as he purchased launch rail equipment. Mr. Shatzer has been traveling across the country purchasing other high power rocket supplies using the cover story that he is a high power rocket hobbyist. He changes the story with respect to who he will be flying with depending on his geographical location. Applied Research Associates has purchased at least 40 J350 rocket motors and large numbers of rocket kits from
different suppliers.

It was reported to ARSA that Applied Research Associates employees along with ATFE agents were to conduct tests yesterday at Hill Air Force Base using a target drone to simulate a commercial aircraft. The high power rockets were to be launched out of a parked van. The rockets were going to be launched one at a time at the drone as well as several at a time. The rockets did not contain explosive warheads. It is not known whether the drone was rigged to simulate an explosion as a high power rocket passed by.

The information in this story was made available to Senator Mike Enzi's staff. It is not know at this time, what action, if any, Senator Enzi plans to take. Watch for further updates on this story as it develops.

Thanks to Izzy of Rocket Forge for posting the article to the Rec.Models.Rockets (RMR) newsgroup.

First of all, some questions immediately come to mind:

1. Does Agent Shatzer posses a LEUP (Low Explosives User Permit)? We are required to in order to purchase these motors. In other words, it's already regulated.

2. Is Agent Shatzer posses at least a Level 2 certification from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) or Tripoli? We are required to in order to purchase these motors. In other words, it's already regulated.

3. Is Agent Shatzer storing his motors in a BATFE-approved magazine? Getting approval for his magazine shouldn't be hard since he is a BATFE agent, but the magazine requirements are not simple to comply with. Again, it's already regulated.

Someone brought up a good point - the BATFE doesn't have to videotape anything but a van driving up, opening the doors and launching a rocket from the back. That alone will be sufficient to scare enough idiots Senators and Representatives that they will get their way.

And what exactly is it that they want to do? They want to eliminate hobby rocketry. Not because it will make anyone safer, nor will it stop a single terrorist action, because there are easier and more effective ways to shoot down airplanes. In fact, using one of our unguided rockets is a pretty damned silly method with virtually no chance of success.

But they could point to this and crow that they're protecting Americans.

Here's a nice quote from C. Stewart on RMR:
The actual point of the silly cloak-and-dagger routine is that the BATF wants to be able to shout loudly that "Terrorists can easily get model rockets!" while showing vids of this character doing just that... wait till they trot out those vids at the scarefest... er... "press conference".

Update: David W. states in RMR: The cert requirement is only in NFPA 1127, which at this time is not very widely adopted, as far as I know. And J350 reloads currently require neither an LEUP nor storage, althought how that gets interpreted and/or enforced depends on which agent you talk to.

So the only people who are being required at this time to follow the more stringent proposed regulations are hobby rocketry enthusiasts. I hate these bastards with a passion.

Posted by Ted at November 5, 2003 04:45 AM | TrackBack

I could make several posts out of that news. & if I have time I just might. But here it is in a nutshell -
Unlikely that any BATF agent (add the "E" if ya want, but they'll always be tax boys with delusions of granduere to me)would stoop to groveling, beggin & paying for any permit that he'd toss us peasants in jail for not having. They think they're elite, despite their incompetence. Hell, ever seen a BATf agent with that $200 tax stamp for the MP-5 he uses to defend his/her self just after he/she's stomped some innocent persons kittens to death?

Publicity is BIG for them. More press, more congressional attention = bigger budget. That's what it's all about. I'm sure there are a few idiots who think they're protecting the "Fatherland" by trying to make rockets "verbotten", but the higher ups just want to add to the list of things they're responsible for, so they can get more cash from us.
& I do truly sympathize with what rocket hobbyists are going through & likely to go through, but I'm in a rush, I'm tired & ticked off, so forgive any rudeness of the following -

Next time a BATF decision, action, or complaint causes a rocket enthusiast you know to use bad words, ask him what the hell his position is on firearms & gun control? The BATF has been persecuting firearms owners long before they thought about model rockets. They're focusing on them now because A: gun control isn't moving fast enough to give them the power they want & B: even if it was they always want more power.

If you truly want to know how bad the BATF is, e-mail me sometime & I'll send you some links. Then again you can probably find them on my blog. can't recall if I linked to the really incriminating stuff.

But talk your rocket enthusiast friends into pressuring their congress critter into backing of gun control. That's the only thing that can slow the BATF down, since it's the mainstay of their budget.

Oh, & don't worry - there'll be footage of a rocket leaving a van, & fottage of a flying object blowing up. It won't be because of the rocket, but Schumer won't care & neither will the press. I'm sorry but the only way to stop the BATF is to talk your congress critter into disbanding them.

Posted by: Publicola at November 5, 2003 07:44 AM

What's the E for? Everything Else?

Bureau of Drinks, Smokes and Guns. Should be a fun place. But no.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 6, 2003 12:00 AM

LOL Pixy. They wish. The 'E' is now for 'explosives'

Posted by: Ted at November 6, 2003 07:12 AM
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