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Author: Subject: Do you need an FEL to produce energetics?
chem101st
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[*] posted on 17-12-2023 at 21:43
Do you need an FEL to produce energetics?


I keep seeing people on Youtube posting videos of making TNT etc. that don't seem worried about being arrested. I also found something on ATFs site about it being legal to produce explosives if it's not for commercial use. But it's one small sentence. I also found old articles about Homemade explosives being "Surprisingly legal and tying law enforcements hands."

Can someone please elaborate on this? Do I not need to go through the headache of getting and FEL to make small amount for personal use? I understand transporting is a no go without crazy stuff, but what if you make it on site and use it the same day?

Finding the proper requirements for a storage magazine with the right setbacks keeps ending in a dead end. I know fireworks and rocket propellant are ok to make provided you follow the on site same day use rules, does HE fall under this too?

[Edited on 18-12-2023 by chem101st]

[Edited on 18-12-2023 by chem101st]
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OneEyedPyro
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 00:30


There are many city, county and state laws. There's really no umbrella answer for that question. Federally you may produce explosives for private, non-commercial use but you may not store these explosives unless still in the process of producing more. There's the issue of destructive devices which is rather subjective and largely depends on your intent and the obvious nature of the device. For example, mixing a pound of Tannerite is federally legal and is considered the manufacture of explosives but if you add a bunch of nails to the container it would almost certainly be deemed a destructive device.

Synthesizing an HE falls under the same federal guidelines as mixing tannerite or flash powder. With that said, most local law enforcement, prosecutors and judges probably don't even know or care about the laws regarding this and you might find yourself getting raided, thrown in a cell and fighting things in court regardless.

[Edited on 18-12-2023 by OneEyedPyro]
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chem101st
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 04:08


Wow. So what I pieced together is correct. That's wild.

I know state and local laws are usually the hangup. But outside of city limits, I have none, so I'm only worried about federal law. I understand DDs are off limits.

The last part is disheartening. I figured as much. Even if it's legal no street cop is going to believe that it is and I'll end up having to pay and fight to prove it.

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site? It would be nice to be able to print an actual law out to keep handy.
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 12:03


Ordinance Lab on Youtube have done a few videos on the legality of various aspects of energetics in the USA.
https://www.youtube.com/@OrdnanceLab/videos

I would recommend finding the pieces of legislation that relate to what you are doing from each of the jurisdictions you are within and making sure you understand them.


Quote:

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site?

Yes it will be documented in legislation. I am totally unfamiliar with US law, but their may also be guidelines prepared based on the legislation.
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 12:10


Quote: Originally posted by chem101st  
Wow. So what I pieced together is correct. That's wild.

I know state and local laws are usually the hangup. But outside of city limits, I have none, so I'm only worried about federal law. I understand DDs are off limits.

The last part is disheartening. I figured as much. Even if it's legal no street cop is going to believe that it is and I'll end up having to pay and fight to prove it.

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site? It would be nice to be able to print an actual law out to keep handy.


I'm not sure where you'd find a concise printable list of the laws and opinion letters from the ATF regarding the topic but if there's one thing I can say about the ATF is that they tend to use a lot of ambiguity in their wording so they can get something on a person if they feel like it.

You could print up your own citing some of the pertinent penal codes and exact quotes from the ATF. Maybe list some URLs to the ATFs website. It might be enough to get a decent cop, game warden etc to at least look it up and question their presumptions of it being blatantly illegal.
Your average cop will see even a single beaker or any amount of a mysterious white powder as a huge red flag, at that point there's often no reasoning with them and when you say it's explosives related they might call in a bomb squad or something dramatic.

I forgot to mention transportation of explosives. You can't transport on public roadways and I believe there's even some distance you're not supposed to exceed on public land in general but don't quote me on the latter.
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chem101st
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 12:48


Quote: Originally posted by B(a)P  
Ordinance Lab on Youtube have done a few videos on the legality of various aspects of energetics in the USA.
https://www.youtube.com/@OrdnanceLab/videos

I would recommend finding the pieces of legislation that relate to what you are doing from each of the jurisdictions you are within and making sure you understand them.


Quote:

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site?

Yes it will be documented in legislation. I am totally unfamiliar with US law, but their may also be guidelines prepared based on the legislation.


Funny you mention them. I am all set up with Steve (Ordinance Lab) for consulting later this week.
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chem101st
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 12:52


Quote: Originally posted by OneEyedPyro  
Quote: Originally posted by chem101st  
Wow. So what I pieced together is correct. That's wild.

I know state and local laws are usually the hangup. But outside of city limits, I have none, so I'm only worried about federal law. I understand DDs are off limits.

The last part is disheartening. I figured as much. Even if it's legal no street cop is going to believe that it is and I'll end up having to pay and fight to prove it.

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site? It would be nice to be able to print an actual law out to keep handy.


I'm not sure where you'd find a concise printable list of the laws and opinion letters from the ATF regarding the topic but if there's one thing I can say about the ATF is that they tend to use a lot of ambiguity in their wording so they can get something on a person if they feel like it.

You could print up your own citing some of the pertinent penal codes and exact quotes from the ATF. Maybe list some URLs to the ATFs website. It might be enough to get a decent cop, game warden etc to at least look it up and question their presumptions of it being blatantly illegal.
Your average cop will see even a single beaker or any amount of a mysterious white powder as a huge red flag, at that point there's often no reasoning with them and when you say it's explosives related they might call in a bomb squad or something dramatic.

I forgot to mention transportation of explosives. You can't transport on public roadways and I believe there's even some distance you're not supposed to exceed on public land in general but don't quote me on the latter.


I guess that's all I can do and hope they don't try to ruin my life over having not broken the law.

I wonder if I get a type II storage magazine if I'd be covered for transport, or if there's more DOT stuff that needs to be handled. I'm sure Steve will be able to cover all the details with me.

I've had lots of LE friends. I'll never forget my police sergeant buddy seeing my rifle and getting worked up telling me it was "illegal and I shouldn't have it." When I asked him why specifically he said it just looked illegal. Good early lesson about how a lot of LE base think and work. Great guy, but that's not how the law works. I can only imagine how much worse that mindset would be with energetics.
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 15:32


Quote: Originally posted by chem101st  

I've had lots of LE friends. I'll never forget my police sergeant buddy seeing my rifle and getting worked up telling me it was "illegal and I shouldn't have it." When I asked him why specifically he said it just looked illegal. Good early lesson about how a lot of LE base think and work. Great guy, but that's not how the law works. I can only imagine how much worse that mindset would be with energetics.


That's the whole issue. You can be completely within your legal rights and some 20 year old kid who took an 18 month crash course after high school to become a cop who has an ego bigger than his brain, a gun on his hip, a shiny badge and a pair of cuffs can slam you on your face and arrest you for not breaking the law. You never know.

As for the ATF being ambiguous with their wording, they can use constructive possession to turn just about anything into a crime. If you have a regular 16" barreled AR-15 but also a separate barrel that's shorter they can say you're in constructive possession of an illegal short barreled rifle if they so feel. Same goes for having an empty glass bottle in the trash, a can of gas in the garage and a dish rag by the sink. They could literally charge you with constructive possession of a molotov cocktail.
Their power to interpret law without oversight or precedence and ability to arbitrarily and indefinitely change the meaning of laws on a whim needs to be reigned in.
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[*] posted on 18-12-2023 at 18:18


I personally have no interest in energetics (I like having fingers), but if I did then it would make sense to obtain the proper license, even if it is a PITA. You never know when some nosey Karen is going to call LE on you, and having that bit of paper to make it all legal seems like cheap insurance to me.



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[*] posted on 19-12-2023 at 00:14


For me, the border is at where you make practically applicable explosives in larger quantities, such that you can make explosive devices with them. I myself made some energetic materials (e.g. some transition metal peroxo complexes, or amine-based perchlorate salts), but only in milligram quantities for nice demo effects (pictures and videos for my website). I see quite some threads over here about the chemistry of exotic complexes, sometimes with nice pictures. That kind of chemistry on energetic materials is no problem, not even in the Netherlands, in principle it is not much different than doing chemistry experiments with nice colors or other special effects on a small scale.

If you make multi-gram amounts and produce explosive devices, then things become quite different. In the Netherlands, this can lead to serious issues with law enforcement. Making fireworks is strictly prohibited, and making explosive devices is even worse. So, keep it clearly on the side of a fun small scale experiment. Another big advantage of that approach is that you don't risk losing fingers or more ;)




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[*] posted on 23-12-2023 at 23:22


ATF can be really cool. Build relationships with them. One told me he thinks homemade fireworks are cool and you don’t need a license, when I asked for it in writing he declined.

Usually the FBI will interview you first, give you a warning and remind you of the laws. But several YouTubers did get raided by large amounts of serious swatt guys. But they ended up being pretty fair.

It all depends. Some ATF guys are like lawyers and OCD. Others like to hunt and shoot and are very very helpful. Build relationships, they are real people :)

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[*] posted on 23-12-2023 at 23:24


Quote: Originally posted by chem101st  
Quote: Originally posted by B(a)P  
Ordinance Lab on Youtube have done a few videos on the legality of various aspects of energetics in the USA.
https://www.youtube.com/@OrdnanceLab/videos

I would recommend finding the pieces of legislation that relate to what you are doing from each of the jurisdictions you are within and making sure you understand them.


They do consulting?

I think their content could be far more scientific, exciting and they could do a little research especially on shape charges and binaries

Quote:

Is there anything in writing besides the one vague sentence I found on ATFs site?

Yes it will be documented in legislation. I am totally unfamiliar with US law, but their may also be guidelines prepared based on the legislation.


Funny you mention them. I am all set up with Steve (Ordinance Lab) for consulting later this week.
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[*] posted on 29-12-2023 at 15:51


Quote: Originally posted by MineMan  
Build relationships, they are real people :)



That is the most wise council that I have witnessed in a long while...my hat's off to You Sir! :)




Exact science is a figment of imagination.......
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OneEyedPyro
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[*] posted on 30-12-2023 at 01:20


Quote: Originally posted by markx  
Quote: Originally posted by MineMan  
Build relationships, they are real people :)



That is the most wise council that I have witnessed in a long while...my hat's off to You Sir! :)


I don't know about that. I'd say 'build relationships' once you're fully committed to getting that FEL and have the actual ability to fulfill the requirements to obtain one. Calling up the ATF and babbling about getting an FEL when it's a half baked pipe dream is just asking for a knock at the door or a spot on the no fly list.

The fact that we're discussing the reasonable fear of ending up getting raided if not imprisoned despite following the law should make you question the decision to pick up the phone and call the very people who can easily make that fear a reality.
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[*] posted on 30-12-2023 at 18:02


Quote: Originally posted by OneEyedPyro  
Quote: Originally posted by markx  
Quote: Originally posted by MineMan  
Build relationships, they are real people :)



That is the most wise council that I have witnessed in a long while...my hat's off to You Sir! :)


I don't know about that. I'd say 'build relationships' once you're fully committed to getting that FEL and have the actual ability to fulfill the requirements to obtain one. Calling up the ATF and babbling about getting an FEL when it's a half baked pipe dream is just asking for a knock at the door or a spot on the no fly list.

The fact that we're discussing the reasonable fear of ending up getting raided if not imprisoned despite following the law should make you question the decision to pick up the phone and call the very people who can easily make that fear a reality.


This is my experience, I use to deal in local permits for explosives. I have found several ATF agents are extremely willing to help you get the FEL.

But other times I would have to deal with other local authorities. The same thing helped me every time. Don’t push, address their concerns and build relationships
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[*] posted on 30-12-2023 at 18:07


Quote: Originally posted by markx  
Quote: Originally posted by MineMan  
Build relationships, they are real people :)



That is the most wise council that I have witnessed in a long while...my hat's off to You Sir! :)


Thank you. I did that with one agent and he made personal phone calls for me to see why the other agents were withholding the process and told me exactly how to fix it. Also there are regular inspections, once you get your FEL it still greatly helps to have that relationship.
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[*] posted on 31-12-2023 at 08:32


Quote: Originally posted by MineMan  

This is my experience, I use to deal in local permits for explosives. I have found several ATF agents are extremely willing to help you get the FEL.

But other times I would have to deal with other local authorities. The same thing helped me every time. Don’t push, address their concerns and build relationships


The process to get an FEL is relatively straight forward. People like you, Bert and even me are happy to point people in the right direction. I think being truly committed to getting your license, understanding the process and working out the details prior to contacting the ATF is the right way to go about it. Having the land and affording an approved storage magazine is a reality check for many people.

Let's be honest. A lot of people dabbling in energetics with aspirations of getting an FEL may not exactly be following storage, transportation and DD laws. Even if you're completely legal I don't believe it's wise to be phoning the ATF in that situation until you get your ducks in a row and are certain about the decision to go through with the licensing.
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