TFI Statement on Ammonium Nitrate Linked to Las Vegas Shooter

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October 3, 2017

It has been reported that ammonium nitrate was found to be in the possession of the suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. News outlets report that law enforcement officials have confirmed that ammonium nitrate was discovered in the shooter’s car.

The Fertilizer Institute expresses its condolences to those affected by this tragedy, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims.

Ammonium nitrate is a very small percentage of the nitrogen fertilizer market, less than 2 percent. It is primarily used to fertilize forage that is used to feed cattle, primarily in southern states, due to the hot, generally humid climates. When used as directed, ammonium nitrate poses no threat to human health or the environments.

The fertilizer industry takes the security of ammonium nitrate seriously and have worked closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials for many years to keep it out of the hands of those with terrorist or other criminal intent.

  • TFI helped develop the “America’s Security Begins With You” initiative with the Department of Homeland Security. This program encourages agricultural retailers to know their customers, protect their products and notify law enforcement of suspicious activity.
  • TFI members are highly encouraged to participate in the ResponsibleAg program and to follow the Ammonium Nitrate Safe Storage and Handling Guidelines, which were developed by TFI and the Agricultural Retailers Association. More than 2,400 facilities across the country have registered with ResponsibleAg.

TFI is an active member of the Chemical Sector Security Council, which includes several industry associations committed to enhancing the security of the sector. DHS and other federal agencies recognize the Council as a focal point for chemical security efforts.

TFI has supported legislative and regulatory changes to enhance security in cooperation with Congress and federal agencies.

  • We encouraged Congress to enact legislation to regulate the distribution of ammonium nitrate, which resulted in passage of a bill in 2007. As required by the law, the DHS is working on rules to regulate the sale and transfer of ammonium nitrate.

Tannerite, a compound containing ammonium nitrate, was also found in the gunman’s home. This product is legally sold in sport hunting stores and on Amazon and Ebay. The product comprises a combination of ammonium nitrate and/or ammonium perchlorate (oxidizers), and a fuel - primarily aluminum powder - that is supplied as two separate powders that are mixed by the user. It is unclear whether the product found at the gunman’s home had been used for target practice or was intended for another use.

TFI has reached out to federal officials to gather more information. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers, and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org