Earlier this month a retired EOD soldier and instructor was visited by the FBI and questioned about inert ordnance items which were in some way linked to him through markings and a technical handbook which had his name and social security number on it. I have known this person for over 35 years. He advised me of this visit.
These agents were investigating the theft of government ordnance property which investigation was descibed as growing out of a raid on someone in Virginia , someone with EOD labeled inert ordnance.
The agents informed that they had been at the cartridge show in St. Louis before visiting this fellow. This fellow is not a “cartridge” collector but was a collector of inert ordnance in the far past. I have never met an EOD man or BOMB SQUAD man who did not have a collection.
He said that the FBI was concerned that all items which have an EOD INERT label especially with a number on it are STOLEN GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.
Prior to 1998 surplus inert ordnance was often disposed of in various ways including trashing , gifting to unit members and local bomb squads , consigning to property disposal , and other means.
After 1998 this was stopped and all ordnance items for a short period were “demilled” . Some might remember the mountains of ammo cans which were crushed to "demill " them at the time.
This nonsense did not last long as it destoyed a cash stream which was wanted.
During the Clinton administration all of the local base EOD museums were closed and there was a glut of these inert items at gun and militaria shows.
Consequent of all this there are tens of thousands if not millions of inert ordnance items in collections worldwide many of which carry the various EOD INERT labels some numbered and some not.
The FBI implication from the above visit implied that they were considering ALL such marked items as stolen government property subject to seizure. There was even the mention of the sticky remainder of a label being removed as evidence as well.
There was mention of items stolen from Picatinny Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Grounds museums. This does not suprise me as museum closures of this nature very often result in the loss of items especially when there is not a precise record and the collections are huge.
Further; a fellow collector in Maryland who had sold his shell collection years ago but still has an inert dummy marked 115mm chemical rocket which had not sold had the same listed on Auctionarms site for over 5 years.
In late April he was emailed by the FBI in Baltimore and asked if that rocket was INERT. Of course it was. The FBI called some days later and informed him that they were not satisfied and that they were bringing the ARMY to inspect it.
This was done and the rocket confiscated by the FBI and ARMY EOD unit from Aberdeen PG.
The rocket was a totally inert and marked dummy. It was offered to me at the same show in Greenbelt Md. ( good old days!) where this fellow bought it. It was nothing but a lump of metal. Had it been an inerted tactical unit I might have bought it but ordnance shaped lumps of metal never interested me.
The reason given was that it was a named item in the Chemical Weapons Treaty of 2000 which requires the signers to confiscate and destroy all CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL weapons and tactical components thereof.
Only riot control chemical ordnance is exempted.