[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 2 (Tuesday, January 5, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 282-283]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-31218]



39 CFR Part 111

Restricting the Mailing of Replica or Inert Explosive Devices

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule; revised.


SUMMARY: The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the 
United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM[supreg]) to 
clarify that a proposed new standard to allow for the mailing of 
replica or inert explosive devices, such as grenades, be sent by 
Registered MailTM only.

DATES: Submit comments on or before February 4, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Mailing 
Standards, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 3436, 
Washington, DC 20260-3436. You may inspect and photocopy all written 
comments at USPS Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 11th 
Floor N, Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday. E-mail comments, containing the name and address of the 
commenter, may be sent to: [email protected], with a subject 
line of ``Inert Munitions'' Faxed comments are not accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary J. Collins 202-268-5440 or Evans 
King, 202-268-4982.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Postal Service published a Federal 
Register proposed rule (73 FR 12321) on March 7, 2008 to prohibit 
replica and inert munitions from the mail. Upon further review and in 
consideration of respondents' comments, we are revising our proposal 
    1. More specifically identify these items as ``replica or inert 
explosive devices'' rather than ``replica or inert munitions'' and,

[[Page 283]]

    2. Identify a process for mailing such items rather than 
prohibiting them from the mail altogether.
    In the past, postal operations have been disrupted and facilities 
have been evacuated when replica or inert explosive devices have been 
discovered in the mail. Such evacuations result in unnecessary expense 
and loss of productivity to the Postal Service and can jeopardize 
USPS[supreg] service commitments. We believe this revised proposed rule 
will minimize the chances of operational disruptions caused by replica 
or inert explosive devices and at the same time allow mailers to 
continue to use the mail for shipping these items.

Comments Received

    All comments received in response to the original proposed rule 
were in opposition to the proposal, falling into four major categories. 
Comments are summarized and presented below followed by our responses:
    Comment: The Postal Service proposal is vague and overly broad when 
identifying all replica or inert ``munitions'' as being prohibited from 
    The Postal Service agrees that the language in the rule could be 
more descriptive. We have, therefore, termed these articles as ``inert 
or replica explosive devices'' to distinguish them from inert 
munitions, such as empty shell casings and the like. In the revised 
proposed rule, replica or inert items that clearly look like a bomb or 
an explosive device, to an untrained observer, must be presented for 
mailing in accordance with the proposed standards in this document. 
This proposed rule is intended to discourage indiscriminate mailing of 
articles that appear to be explosive devices.
    Comment: Respondents dispute whether there really is a problem of 
inert munitions in the mail.
    In the past three years, the Postal Service has recorded numerous 
incidents involving the discovery of mail that exhibited 
characteristics of possible explosives. Postal facilities have been 
evacuated due to these occurrences. Postal Inspectors or local 
emergency first responders were contacted and required to respond to 
each of these occurrences.
    Comment: The proposal is in violation of the Second Amendment.
    We no longer propose to prohibit the mailing of items currently 
allowed by law to be mailed. In this revised proposed rule we are 
limiting the mailing of articles that have the appearance of real 
explosive devices. This revised proposed rule requires customers to 
present packages containing replica or inert explosive devices at a 
retail counter and that they be sent via Registered Mail. This process 
will ensure that packages containing these items remain separate and 
easily identifiable during the mailing process.
    Comment: The Postal Service lacks the authority to ban mailing of 
this matter.
    While the Postal Service does not necessarily agree with the legal 
arguments presented by certain respondents in response to its prior 
proposed rule, in reconsideration, we believe we can achieve the goal 
of reducing operational interruptions and maintaining the safety of the 
mail and postal employees by limiting the mailing process of replica or 
inert explosive devices rather than prohibiting them from being mailed.
    Although we are exempt from the notice and comment requirements of 
the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. of 553 (b), (c)] regarding 
proposed rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410(a), we invite public comments on 
the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by 
reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is proposed to be amended as follows:


    1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552(a); 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 
416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, 
and 5001.

    2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) as follows:
* * * * *

600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

601 Mailability

* * * * *

11.0 Other Restricted and Nonmailable Matter

* * * * *

11.5 Replica or Inert Explosive Devices

    [Renumber current 11.5 through 11.20 as 11.6 through 11.21. Insert 
new 11.5 to read as follows:]
    Replica or inert devices that bear a realistic appearance to 
explosive devices such as simulated grenades, but that are not 
dangerous, are permitted in the mail when all of the following 
conditions are met:
    a. The package is presented by the mailer at a retail counter.
    b. Registered Mail is used. Registered Mail service is only 
available for items mailed as either First-Class Mail or Priority Mail.
    c. The address side of the package is labeled with ``REPLICA 
EXPLOSIVE'' using at least 20 point type or letters at least \1/4\'' 
* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to 
reflect these changes if our proposal is adopted.

Neva R. Watson,
Attorney, Legislative.
[FR Doc. E9-31218 Filed 1-4-10; 8:45 am]