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Technical Committees

SAAMI Sets Product Standards for Firearms and Ammunition

The primary work of SAAMI is done by its Technical Committee in the setting of industry standards. Product standards for firearms and ammunition are developed by two Product Standards Task Forces, one for ammunition and one for firearms. Recommendations of the task forces are submitted for review by the entire Technical Committee. The Technical Committee works with the Commission Internationale Permanente (CIP), an international association of proof houses. By working together, the CIP and SAAMI are working towards the development of internationally recognized standards. The SAAMI Technical committee frequently provides technical information to legislative and regulatory bodies across the US and around the world.

SAAMI Is An Accredited Standards Developer For The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

As an accredited standards developer, SAAMI's standards for industry test methods, definitive proof loads, and ammunition performance specifications are subject to ANSI review and various ANSI criteria.

According to the American National Standards Institute, "Approval of an American National Standard requires verification by ANSI that the requirements for due process, consensus, and other criteria for approval have been met by the standards developer."

"Consensus is established when, in the judgment of the ANSI Board of Standards Review, substantial agreement has been reached by directly and materially affected interests. Substantial agreement means much more than a simple majority, but not necessarily unanimity. Consensus requires that all views and objections be considered, and that a concerted effort be made toward their resolution."

Standards are developed when the governing body, SAAMI, proposes a new standard and circulates the draft to canvasses. Canvasses for each standard include government agencies (such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Customs Service), non-SAAMI member companies, and interested parties (such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology). Once the draft standard has been reviewed and returned to SAAMI with comments or corrections, the canvass group votes on whether or not to accept the standard. If there is disagreement and a canvassee opposes the standard but the standard is accepted by the other members of the canvass group, there is an ANSI appeals process that decides the matter.

It is ANSI and SAAMI policy that standards be regularly revised or reaffirmed. Even if the standards remain the same, they must go through the approval process outlined above. Simply stated, the standards accepted by ANSI and promulgated by SAAMI are reviewed and accepted by outside experts, and the validity of the standards are re-affirmed.

In 1996, SAAMI was audited by ANSI and received exemplary marks for technical expertise, professionalism, and competency.

Over the years, there have been attempts to put firearms and ammunition under the Consumer Safety Protection Act. Recognizing that firearms are not traditional "consumer products", Congress exempted the firearms and ammunition industries in 1972 saying, "The Consumer Product Safety Commission shall make no ruling or order that restricts the manufacture or sale of firearms, ammunition, including black powder or gun powder, for firearms." Congress was correct because numerous anti-gun advocates have since argued that the CSPA should be allowed to regulate firearms and ammunition in the name of safety. Numerous industries in addition to firearms and ammunition were exempted from the CSPA, including automobiles, boats, and aircraft. Congress has not wavered from its initial position.

Since 1926 SAAMI has been the principle organization in the United States actively engaged in the development and promulgation of product standards for firearms and ammunition. The U.S. military, the Department of Homeland Security, and many other state and local agencies frequently require that their suppliers manufacture to SAAMI specifications. SAAMI is the only trade association whose member companies manufacture and set standards for high-performance law enforcement ammunition.