This differs from a substantive rule, which (as SCOTUSBlog states,) “binds” the public and has the “force and effect” of law.
A recent Supreme Court decision on administrative law has implications for those concerned about the right to keep and bear arms. Yes, administrative law sounds about as boring as….well, words fail me….administrative law, but believe me, you’d better pay attention to it because the rules that agencies like the BATFE promulgate can have a serious impact on the kinds of firearms and ammunition that are available for purchase. The Supreme Court ruled that administrative agencies do not need to issue a notice and allow a 30-day period for comments from the general public if all they’re doing is changing an “interpretive” rule . . .
What does that mean? Well, the blog at Venable LLP does a decent job of defining an ‘interpretive’ rule:
“[I]nterpretive rules” (including guidance documents, agency manuals, and interpretative bulletins)…explain how the legislative rules will be applied and to resolve ambiguities in the meaning of those rules. Interpretive rules technically do not have the force and effect of law, and thus can be issued without public notice and comment. But agencies can and do apply these “interpretations” as if they are binding. Regulated companies have long complained that agencies use the “interpretive rule” pathway to change the meaning of their legislative rules without going through the required procedures. To curb this abuse of agency authority, in Paralyzed Veterans v. of Am. v. D.C. Arena L.P., the D.C. Circuit held that an agency may not significantly revise a prior, definitive interpretation of its legislative rules without going through the notice and comment process.