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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #07-0008 ([U.S. Department of Energy] [Mr. Dennis Ashworth])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: U.S. Department of Energy

Individual Name: Mr. Dennis Ashworth

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 29, 2008

Mr. Dennis Ashworth


Office of Transportation

Office of Environmental Management

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington, DC 20585

Ref. No. 07-0008

Dear Mr. Ashworth:

This responds to your January 9, 2007 letter and, in further reference to our February 28, 2003 response, regarding the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to security force personnel contracted by the Department of Energy (DOE) for the protection of Federal assets under DOE control. Your letter suggests two transportation scenarios: (1) transportation of weapons in ready-to-fire mode on public highways in accordance with an approved DOE contingency plan and to assist, if requested, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; and (2) transportation of unloaded weapons and explosives in bulk on public highways to be used for training purposes at an offsite location. Your questions are summarized and answered as follows:

Q1. What are the applicable requirements, if any, when our contracted officers are carrying their loaded firearms while on duty, which includes security patrols in a vehicle on private property and public property, including highways?

A1. It is our understanding that Section 161.k of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, authorizes DOE employees, contractors and subcontractors (at any tier) to carry firearms and to make arrests without warrants while in the discharge of their official duties. The HMR apply to the commercial transportation of hazardous materials (see § 171.1). Transportation of a weapon by a dully authorized security officer is not commercial transportation when the officer is performing authorized duties. Thus, transportation of a loaded firearm by a security officer in a DOE or personal vehicle during routine patrols of plant facilities, including patrols on public roads around the facility, is not subject to HMR requirements.

Q2. What are the applicable requirements, if any, when our contracted employees transport these unloaded firearms and explosives in bulk to a range for qualification, which includes traveling in a vehicle on private property and public property, including highways?

A2. When transported as cargo by motor vehicle over public roads, such as delivery from a DOE facility to a range for qualification, the bulk explosives are subject to all requirements of the HMR applicable to such transportation. We note that the DOE Explosives Safety Manual (DOE M 440.1-1A, dated 01-09-06) provided with your letter reflects that policy for DOE security contractor forces.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Susan Gorsky

Regulations Officer

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

171.1 173.7

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
173.3 Packaging and exceptions