Military Brass Cases to Be Sold to Public as Part of New Law

As one can imagine, the U.S. Military goes through a lot of ammunition.  And as everyone who’s fired a firearm knows, there is (depending on which type of ammunition one fires) a certain byproduct that remains after the bullet is discharged, i.e. the casings/cases/cartridges.  Many times this casing is made from brass and many gun owners save, recycle and/or reuse these brass casings.  However, the U.S. Military is not always the most frugal enterprise and the question of what happens to their used brass cases is an interesting one.

Traditionally it’s been the protocol of the U.S. Military to destroy once-fired brass casings.  However, some of the military’s base commanders saw this as a gross mismanagement of a valuable commodity and subsequently negotiated with ammunition producers and arms manufactures to have them collect the used cases so that they could be sold as scrap metal.  The plan worked and small stream of revenue was made.  Not bad, right?  Going from not making any revenue on the used cases, to making a small return. 

However, during the scrap metal recycling process, the idea soon emerged that the U.S. Military (really the U.S. Treasury) could make even more money on the used brass cases if they sold them not as scrap metal, but as re-loadable ammunition components in the surplus marketplace. 

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe realized that money from these used brass cartridges was being left on the table.  So, he added an amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that “makes fired small arms cartridges available for commercial sale with certain restrictions, and requires the Secretary of Defense to issue guidance to ensure compliance with the guidelines managing commercial sale of spent ammunition.” 

On a side note, the NDAA is essentially the Military’s budget.  The official wording for the NDAA is,  “to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.”

“My amendment provides a unique opportunity for the commercial sale of spent small arms cartridges,” Senator Inhofe told reporters. “This is beneficial from a cost saving standpoint. Having worked on this issue for some time, I am pleased to have made this progress. Those that care about Second Amendment Rights have put much effort into this as well.”

NRA Executive Director Chris W. Cox agreed, “It is common sense that serviceable and safe military spent brass cases are made available for commercial sale as military-sourced spent brass cases are of the calibers most widely used for marksmanship training and competition by civilians. In addition to being a revenue source for military bases, reloaded ammunition costs considerably less, and every gun owner and hunter can appreciate the savings during these tough economic times.  We are grateful for Senator Inhofe’s leadership to help ensure the continued availability of these spent casings by civilians.”

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