Homeland Security’s Better Late Than Never Plan

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh used 4,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. Sixteen years later, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that they are planning to regulate the sale of the commonly used fertilizer.

Ammonium nitrate is one of the key ingredients in fertilizers used by farmers across the land. Growing the same crops year after year depletes the nitrogen in the soil. Plants need nitrogen in order to grow. So farmers need to replenish the nitrogen as best they can and using nitrogen based fertilizers is the most effective way for many.

However, the new regulations would require anyone, including farmers, who purchase more than 25 pounds of ammonium nitrate to register with the federal government. It will also require that any business that manufactures, sells or transfers the compound will have to keep detailed records for at least two years.

Over half of the ammonium nitrate used in the United States comes from other nations. So what would stop a would be terrorist from purchasing a ton or two elsewhere and smuggling it into the US across the hundreds of miles of unprotected borders? If someone is intent on getting enough ammonium nitrate to build a bomb, does the DHS really believe their regulations will stop them? It’s just like guns in Washington DC, New York and Boston who have some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation and some of the highest gun crimes in the nation.

This is just amounts to more government regulations and interference in the lives of private citizens. At time when the government needs to cut spending, they don’t need to be establishing more useless rules and regulations which only increase the size and power of the federal government.