and some trucking companies have stopped transporting commercial explosives
because of confusion over whether a new federal law will require thousands
more background checks for those who handle materials ranging from dynamite
to fireworks, USA Today reports.
Explosives Act, which President Bush signed in November, takes effect May
24. The new law's supporters and officials at the federal Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives say the law was designed to provide tighter
control over explosives dealers and those seeking permits to buy smaller
amounts of explosives.
say the law will require background checks on about 20,000 people, about
double the number that is now required.
trucking industry officials say the law could be read as requiring checks
on thousands more people, including commercial rail workers and truckdrivers
and virtually anyone else who helps to transport explosives.
companies have joined the rail industry in refusing to move explosives
because of concerns about whether their drivers could be prosecuted if
they have not undergone a background check.
expands the list of people who may not possess explosives — which had included
felons, the mentally ill, drug addicts and others — to include illegal
immigrants, people dishonorably discharged from the military and those
who have renounced their citizenship.