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1437. Federal Explosives Statutes -- 18 U.S.C. §841 - 848

The Federal explosives statutes in Chapter 40 of Title 18 establish both regulatory controls and criminal sanctions. The regulatory provisions establish Federal controls over interstate or foreign commerce in explosives. The regulatory provisions were designed to assist the states to more effectively regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer and storage of explosives within their borders. See H.R. Rep. No. 91-1549, 91st Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1970 U.S. Code Cong. & Adm. News 4007, 4013. The statutory scheme also requires keeping certain records in connection with transactions in explosives, see 18 U.S.C. § 842(f), and prohibits the making of false statements or false entries in connection with a transaction involving explosives, or failing to report theft of explosives, see 18 U.S.C. §§  842(a)(2), 842(g), 842(k). Licensing authority is vested in the Secretary of the Treasury, and the responsibility for the enforcement of the regulatory provisions is in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). See 18 U.S.C. §  847.

The criminal violations in Chapter 40 of Title 18, found in §  842 but mostly concentrated in § 844, were intended to supplement State prosecutions for "bombing outrages" committed during the late 1960s. See H.R. Rep. No. 91-1549, 91st Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1970 U.S. Code Cong. & Adm. News 4007, 4014; see also, Bingham, Ltd. v. United States, 724 F.2d 921, 923 (11th Cir. 1984). The Federal criminal sanctions for explosives offenses were substantially strengthened by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, Title VII, 110 Stat. 1214, 1291-1304 (1996) (hereinafter "Antiterrorism Act of 1996"), in response to the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

[cited in USAM 9-63.900]

Updated May 20, 2015