(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title;
(B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
(C) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those terms are defined in section 178 of this title); or
(D) any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life;
So far, so good. Beneath the legalese, this mostly fits the common definition of WMDs. However, Section 921
, the part that defines WMDs as destructive devices is where the law gets interesting. For purpose of a WMD, a destructive device is defined as a
(iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,
(iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,
(v) mine, or
(vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses;
or, any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter.
Now we have a problem. By this standard, the U.S. military is using WMDs every day, and could be prosecuted by a foreign power if they were to adopt similar laws. Here are a few examples:M67 hand grenade
: U.S. military’s fragmentation grenade is a grenade under Section 921, and it has an explosive charge of 6.5 ounces, so it qualifies as a WMD on two counts.TOW-2 anti-tank missile
: The TOW-2 is a rocket that blasts through tank armor with a 13-pound warhead, which would qualify as a WMD.
Note that a U.S. Army veteran was charged [http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-28/world/38099269_1_affidavit-al-nusra-syrian-rebel-group]
last month by the FBI with using WMDs after he fired Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades while fighting in Syria alongside the rebels.M795 artillery shell
. The U.S. military’s standard 155-millimeter howitzer shell carries 20 pounds of TNT to its target. This would appear to qualify it as a weapon of mass destruction.PGU-14/B Armor Piercing Incendiary ammunition
– These tank-killing rounds for the 30-millimeter cannon on the A-10 Warthog attack jet use depleted uranium (an extremely dense metal) to punch through armor – and releases radiation in the process. The Pentagon has maintained for years that the radiation is too small to be dangerous, but some – including Desert Storm veterans [http://www.gulfwarvets.com/du.htm]
have argued otherwise.