USA Brass Raided By Federal Investigators

Investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI raided Bozeman, Montana-based USA Brass yesterday. According to various news reports, they are investigating environmental violations. USA Brass sells and processes once-fired brass.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Jeff Martinez, special agent in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Denver, confirmed that agents were searching the business after reports of violations of environmental laws.

However, Martinez would not comment on specifics of the investigation.

USA Brass had been cited in 2013 by OSHA for violations related to exposure to lead, lack of training, and other issues. They could face fines of up to $45,000 for these violations. In October, 2013, the Gallatin County Health Department reported that 22 current and former employees of USA Brass showed elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Video of the raid from NBC Montana and KBZK Channel 7 Bozeman can be seen here and here respectively.

I just don’t see this ending well given the prior OSHA citations and the report from the Gallatin County Health Department. If I was a conspiracy theorist – and I’m not – I might say this was related to the Obama Administration’s war on guns and gun owners. Only time will tell.

17 thoughts on “USA Brass Raided By Federal Investigators”

  1. If the employees really had high blood lead levels, then OSHA is doing their job. Bravo.

    As a recovering chemical engineer and former chemical plant manager, I will tell you that a lot of people see OSHA as a pain in the ass, but if you follow the rules and keep records that you do, they would much rather leave you alone. Obviously there are enough companies that don't, and it would seem to me they have their hands full without looking for companies to unduly harass.

    What ticks me off is that a company like this, in a niche market, jeopardizes its place in the market, and at the same time, jeopardizes our supply of once-fired brass. How disrespectful.

    1. This is not about protecting the employees of USA Brass, this is about protecting "The Tyrannical Government" from well armed, Pissed off Citizens who actually believe the constitution is still a valid document unlike President Obama who thinks it is an Archaic Outdated document that hinders progress. Only thing he is not saying is that the only progress it is hindering is his and others like him progress toward completely destroying the United States of America, A Document that, He SWORE AN OATH TO UPHOLD, NOT DEMOLISH. However, this incident in Bozeman is just another shinning example of how tyrannical this administration has become and the lengths they are willing to go to towards ensuring that when they do make their final play, people, The American People, will not have the ammunition needed to fight back. Since they are failing at simply stealing our Second Amendment RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS they are simply going to let us have our guns and what ammo is in circulation already. Which hopefully will be enough by the time the Military jumps in on the "correct side" of the fight. It is a shame that we even need to have a group in America called the Oath Keepers, but I am certainly proud to see that real men/women still exist.

    2. Seriously? I know you posted on april fools and all… but seriously?

      I'm in the ammo industry, and take great pains to avoid lead contamination. Chances are they were dry tumbling the brass, and were not using air filters to remove the tumbler dust. This is why we moved over to wet tumbling with a water recycling system. The most heavily lead contaminated objects you will find are fired shell casings, as they are covered in soluble lead salts from the primer. Make all the arguments you want about the government aparachiks being enemies of freedom, I'm right with you there, but lead is a fat soluble toxin, and has some pretty nasty effects on the human body. If you're really that excited, you should probably start your own brass processing operation. God knows there's enough demand for it right now.

  2. I don't know any of the principals involved, but I guarantee you: this was a hit on gun owners by the EPA. I bet the blood-lead-level data will be redacted by any attempted FOIA. Because it was fabricated. Yes, I am accusing them of fabrication.

    1. I will go one further and simply call them lying, cheating thieves of Freedom. Un-American as the Taliban. If they think that these are not Terrorist Actions, they need to go back to their briefs and see what that means. An act meant to instill fear, sway the actions or disrupt the day to day "normality" of a large group of people.The word "terrorism" is politically loaded and emotionally charged,[5] and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of "terrorism".[6][7] In some cases, the same group may be described as "freedom fighters" by its supporters and considered to be terrorists by its opponents.[8] The concept of terrorism may be controversial as it is often used by state authorities (and individuals with access to state support) to delegitimize political or other opponents,[9] and potentially legitimize the state's own use of armed force against opponents (such use of force may be described as "terror" by opponents of the state).[9][10] At the same time, the reverse may also take place when states perpetrate or are accused of perpetrating state terrorism. The usage of the term has a controversial history, with individuals such as Nelson Mandela at one point also branded a terrorist.[11]

      Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations to further their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments.[12] An abiding characteristic is the indiscriminate use of violence against non-combatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual. The symbolism of terrorism can exploit human fear to help achieve these goals

  3. I can't say whether or not fabrication was involved, but it does seem odd that a processor of brass would cause "elevated" lead levels, since brass contains no lead and so far as I know lead is not used to process brass. Note that they don't say what "elevated" means (since "elevated" and "medically significant" are not the same thing), nor do they say what other sources of contamination those workers may have been exposed to.

  4. My understanding is that brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. No lead involved, other than whatever "nanoscopic" traces of lead might remain in the mouths of used cases.

  5. The fired brass will have lead on it, because it is contaminated with residue from the primer. Primers use lead styphonate (sp?) so firing a gun does release some lead. That is one reason shooters are advised to wash up after shooting, and after cleaning guns. Indoor ranges are required to have good ventilation for the same reason. The average shooter has no problems, but an employee, exposed day after day could come in contact with enough lead to cause problems.

  6. It is almost impossible to uptake lead by breathing it. Lead uptake is caused by ingestion (eating it). Unless you leave your lunch out in a lead dusted area, the lead comes from NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS.

    Wash your hands before eating, Wash your hands before using the privy. Change your clothes at the end of shift, and shower (your hair). I received this advice from people that build lead batteries.

  7. I've got no issues in enforcing appropriate industrial hygiene practices on facilities that may be exposing their workers to lead compounds. Once fired brass likely has been contaminated by lead from the primers (lead styphnate). Not only is this potentially harmful to the employees, if they don't clean up thoroughly they may be exposing children they contact outside the workplace who will be harmed by much lower exposure levels.

  8. Anonymous is 100% wrong. All data from national health sources show that lead is most easily absorbed through inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact IN THAT ORDER. In fact, skin absorbtion and ingestion are almost negligible threats relative to inhalation, to the point where if you do not wear a respirator while shooting, other controls are unlikely to accomplish anything.

  9. Interesting choice of words in that report, showing the employees had 'elevated' lead levels, not that they had 'dangerous' levels of lead, or even 'greater than permitted' levels. Elevated can mean as little as .001% from a 'standard' level, and in Montana, home of several mining operations, might have a higher normal level of lead in everybody when you start measuring in picograms per ton.

    In short, I won't believe their statements until I can see the numbers, and I won't believe the numbers unless I can see their underlying methodology. And any reputable reporter would do exactly the same (and they don't, because this fits their narrative.)

  10. lead has been the count vlad for the anti gun crowd since the sixties when they first started in on the gun crowd by using the epa and then allowing nonsense from government sponsored outfits like cdc. this is nothing new . look at all the indoor ranges that threw in the towel. they didn't want safety, they want closure. big dairies and corporate farms sic the epa on small dairies and small farming outfits to put them out of businesss. some one in montana had an axe to grind and thats why the epa brought in the fbi to back them up.

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