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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This poor guy. Really scary to think about. I've had a few SKS go full auto for a whole clip after a good cleaning and oiling.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=68590

Owner of broken rifle surrenders for 30-month sentence
'The conviction of David Olofson is a gross miscarriage of justice'
Posted: July 02, 2008
11:30 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A Wisconsin man today surrendered to federal authorities to begin serving a 30-month prison term for having a broken rifle, prompting the Gun Owners of America to issue a warning about the owner's liability should any semi-automatic weapon ever misfire.

"A gun that malfunctions is not a machine gun," Larry Pratt, executive director of GOA, said. "What the [federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] has done in the [David] Olofson case has set a precedent that could make any of the millions of Americans that own semi-automatic firearms suddenly the owner [of] an unregistered machine gun at the moment the gun malfunctions."

Officials with Gun Owners of America told WND they met with Olofson today before he surrendered to federal authorities for his prison term. U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert had imposed the sentence after the gun in question let loose three shots at a firing range.

"It didn't matter the rifle in question had not been intentionally modified for select fire, or that it did not have an M16 bolt carrier … that it did not show any signs of machining or drilling, or that that model had even been recalled a few years back," said a commentary in Guns Magazine on the case against Olofson, of Berlin, Wis.

"It didn't matter the government had repeatedly failed to replicate automatic fire until they replaced the ammunition with a softer primer type. It didn't even matter that the prosecution admitted it was not important to prove the gun would do it again if the test were conducted today," the magazine said. "What mattered was the government's position that none of the above was relevant because '[T]here's no indication it makes any difference under the statute. If you pull the trigger once and it fires more than one round, no matter what the cause it's a machine gun.'

"No matter what the cause."

"David Olofson is a victim of BATFE abuse," Pratt said. "He has been railroaded by an agency that is out-of-control."

An appeal is being assembled by a legal team at the William J. Olson, P.C., law firm, supplemented by attorney Bob Sanders, whose career stretches from being assistant director of criminal investigations at BATFE to many years in private trial law, officials said.

Constitutional expert Herb Titus also is counsel to the Olson law firm.

WND reported earlier when Olofson, a drill instructor in the National Guard, was convicted in a federal court for illegally transferring a machine gun.

The verdict came in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

An expert witness said then the decision was filled with problems.

"If your semiautomatic rifle breaks or malfunctions you are now subject to prosecution. That is now a sad FACT," wrote Len Savage, a weaponry expert who runs Historic Arms LLC.

"To those in the sporting culture who have derided 'black guns' and so-called 'assault weapons'; Your double barreled shotgun is now next up to be seized and you could possibly be prosecuted if the ATF can get it to 'fire more than once,'" he wrote in a blog run by Red's Trading Post.

"Hey, but don't worry," Savage said. "The people testing it have no procedures in writing and the testing will be in secret."

He said during an interview with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership that Olofson had been instructing a man in the use of guns, and the student asked to borrow a rifle for some shooting practice.

"Mr. Olofson was nice enough to accommodate him," Savage said. So the student, Robert Kiernicki, went to a range and fired about 120 rounds. "He went to put in another magazine and the rifle shot three times, then jammed."

He said the rifle, which was subject to a manufacturer's recall because of mechanical problems at one point, malfunctioned because of the way it was made.

Savage said once the government confiscated the gun, things got worse.

"They examined and test fired the rifle; then declared it to be 'just a rifle,'" Savage said. "You would think it would all be resolved at this point, this was merely the beginning."

He said the Special Agent in Charge, Jody Keeku, asked for a re-test and specified that the tests use "soft primered commercial ammunition."

"FTB has no standardized testing procedures, in fact it has no written procedures at all for testing firearms," Savage said. "They had no standard to stick to, and gleefully tried again. The results this time...'a machinegun.' ATF with a self-admitted 50 percent error rate pursued an indictment and Mr. Olofson was charged with 'Unlawful transfer of a machinegun.'. Not possession, not even Robert Kiernicki was charged with possession (who actually possessed the rifle), though the ATF paid Mr. Kiernicki 'an undisclosed amount of money' to testify against Mr. Olofson at trial," Savage said.
 

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What happened to him was CS. It just goes to show how high handed the ATFE is getting. Some thing needs to be done, before it is to late.
 

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There is a lot more to this story than what Lou Dobbs and World Net Daily are telling us. First of all, this gun had a bunch of M16 parts in it.

This is from a post on thehighroad.org:

Pay particular attention to Item 7 and Item 10 and Item 12 and Item 13 and Item 17 and Item 20 and Item 23. Read those items over thoroughly. Olofson had installed a 3-position M16 selector, which is a real no no. Whatever else was installed or modified internally is known only to the immediate participants.

A stock factory AR15 was modified with an M16 selector at the very least, and quite likely other parts changed or modified. This is a federal crime.

This is an issue that NOBODY concerned about this case will acknowledge or admit to. Instead, everyone goes into Hyper Rant Mode about Second Amendment issues and JBT's.

The sad fact is, he illegally modified an AR15 and loaned it out to some nimrod who didn't have enough sense to leave that third selector position alone at a public range.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's a lot in that statement that doesn't make sense and also doesn't really pertain to the case. Like that he owns a .50 cal sniper rifle. Like how did a 3 burst at the range turn into full auto when the ATF had it? When can people sell firearms on eBay? Why list the tools he has in his basement? Why wasn't he charged with using someone else's FFL number? They guy who had the gun loaned to him also had it for months but theres nothing about him possibly modifying it.

Check out the AR-15.com thread.
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=6&t=507483
 

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Rugerlover said:
There is a lot more to this story than what Lou Dobbs and World Net Daily are telling us. First of all, this gun had a bunch of M16 parts in it.
There's a lot of documentation over on OCDO, including copies of all of the depositions on both sides, and it appears that the agent was probably lying through her teeth. Yes, there were M-16 parts, but no three-position selector lever, and no automatic sear. Olofson's attorneys have relatively solid documentary evidence of what M-16 parts are in it, but were not allowed to introduce the firearm itself as evidence, or have their own experts examine it, or fire it. They were also not allowed to introduce the documentation they have, because it is "privileged" to the gun dealer that sold Olofson the parts. Never mind that the dealer in question is okay with allowing it; he doesn't have a say.

This is all from memory, from a couple of months ago, so I might have some details wrong.

In any case, it doesn't matter if Olofson is guilty. The really scary part is that the BATFE has gotten a judge to affirm that under the law, it doesn't matter WHY a gun fires multiple times. If, under some unspecified testing, it can be made to fire multiple shots, even once, it is a MG and subject to NFA and FOPA restrictions. Even if Olofson did intentionally convert his rifle to full auto (and I don't think he did), the BATFE says it doesn't matter whether it was intentional or a malfunction, and the court agrees.
 

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Definitely a case which never should have happened. It is also a case which ought to go to the Supreme Court which recently stated that they felt many of the restrictions on guns were not legal. We know that leaves a lot to be decided, but the case they were reviewing was for something else, therefore a decision concerning other illegal gun laws and restrictions was not appropriate to the decision at hand. What has happened to this poor fellow is a disaster, it needs to be
sent to a higher court and ought to be dismissed as an affront to the law--at least. Each BATFE person involved, including the person who was using the gun at the time of its malfunction (who was paid by the BATFE to testify against this man) should be prosecuted for violating basic civil and constitutional rights and should be fined and imprisoned for their collusion in this case. This is definitely a miscarriage of justice! And none of us should ever have to be concerned with the rantings of a rogue agency, read BATFE, which has no lawful claim to existence under the constitution. The comments and statements by them, as well as their testing and the deliberate denial of evidence for the defense show that this was to be a kangaroo court with their outcome already decided. This is evil. This man is innocent and the whole affair is a sham. Hopefully the appeals will be successful but I do hope the case can go to SCOTUS for a decision concerning all of this.
 

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Cinhil said:
Definitely a case which never should have happened. It is also a case which ought to go to the Supreme Court which recently stated that they felt many of the restrictions on guns were not legal. We know that leaves a lot to be decided, but the case they were reviewing was for something else, therefore a decision concerning other illegal gun laws and restrictions was not appropriate to the decision at hand. What has happened to this poor fellow is a disaster, it needs to be
sent to a higher court and ought to be dismissed as an affront to the law--at least. Each BATFE person involved, including the person who was using the gun at the time of its malfunction (who was paid by the BATFE to testify against this man) should be prosecuted for violating basic civil and constitutional rights and should be fined and imprisoned for their collusion in this case. This is definitely a miscarriage of justice! And none of us should ever have to be concerned with the rantings of a rogue agency, read BATFE, which has no lawful claim to existence under the constitution. The comments and statements by them, as well as their testing and the deliberate denial of evidence for the defense show that this was to be a kangaroo court with their outcome already decided. This is evil. This man is innocent and the whole affair is a sham. Hopefully the appeals will be successful but I do hope the case can go to SCOTUS for a decision concerning all of this.
:agree: :agree:
 

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I guess I'm kind of in the middle on this one.

I think the BATFE was a little heavy-handed in how the case was handled and how they went after this guy.

BUT

I don't think the defendant was "clean" either, and certainly wasn't "innocent". This guy has been pushing the limits and pissing off the ATF for a LONG time, trying to see what he can get away with. That's REALLY not a good idea. They've got the resources to do all kinds of ugly stuff, and if you give them enough motivation they won't hesitate to use them.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it's quite typical at all levels of law enforcement to go after somebody and find something to charge them with just to get them in jail on SOMETHING, especially when they are smart and careful and make it difficult to convict. Al Capone was a great example. He was obviously a hugely well known gangster/bad guy, who they eventually nailed for tax evasion or something like that. Not murder, not any of the other many things they knew he did but had a hard time pinning on him, it was some goofy white-collar charge that got him sent to jail.

Again, I'm not defending anybody or taking sides on this case, I'm kind of in the middle. I can see how there were some problems with the BATFE's case and don't necessarily agree with the ruling or what they did... BUT I think this guy probably belongs in jail and needed to be taken down a notch or two.

EDIT: I guess the thing I have the biggest problem with is the way some people want to paint the guy as some poor, unsuspecting schlubb who is a victim of the government and is going to jail for two and a half years because his gun broke. Very little reading shows that that's not the case AT ALL.
 

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I certainly can see your point. However, why exactly do you believe he should be in jail? Because he broke a bunch of tyrannical, unjust laws, that they can't pin him on?

Disclaimer: I haven't read anything about this case except what is in this thread, so I really don't know why mchlwise believes he should be in jail. However, if all he did was break unjust firearms laws (and as long as he never harmed any innocent folks with his guns), I don't know if I agree that he should be in jail.

I DO believe we should obey the unjust firearms laws, but that doesn't mean I think he should go to jail for breaking them.
 

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eddified said:
I DO believe we should obey the unjust firearms laws, but that doesn't mean I think he should go to jail for breaking them.
Well, that's mostly where we disagree, I guess.

There are many laws I don't like, but I don't beleive we can pick and choose which ones we obey or enforce. If the laws are unjust, they should be changed - not ignored.

I don't have all of the facts, and of course saying that I think he should probably be in jail is my opinion - which may very well be wrong. From what I've seen, though, my opinion is that this guy did a LOT of things that skirt right on the very edge of the law and probably over the line many times. If laws aren't enforced, we might as well get rid of all of them.
 

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m&p40 said:
+ 1 for mchlwise
+2

Just because you don't like the law does not mean you do not have to obey it.

I think 30 months is a little stiff but the guy who had the gun knew what he had and should of had it repaired so that it ran legally. I would also like to know if Olympic should carry some of the responsibility or if the gun had been modified after it left their facility.
 

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mchlwise said:
There are many laws I don't like, but I don't beleive we can pick and choose which ones we obey or enforce. If the laws are unjust, they should be changed - not ignored.
I agree with this, but I disagree that what happened was in any way just.

It doesn't matter if Olofson has previously skirted the edges of the rules. What matters is what he was charged with and what the court found. What the court found is that ANY gun that can be made to fire multiple times with only one pull of the trigger, regardless of reason, regardless of intent, and without any well-defined testing criteria (the BATFE can just keep trying stuff until they make it happen), is legally a machine gun.

There's a lot wrong with how they tested the gun, what evidence they did and did not allow to be submitted. There's also a LOT wrong with the court's finding that even a malfunctioning gun that slam-fires is legally a machine gun. That was clearly not the intent of the law.

Olofson was railroaded, and it's wrong.

Your point appears to be that it's okay that they railroaded him, because they'd been trying to find something on him for a while, because he liked to push the limits of the rules. I disagree. If they can do it to him, they can do it to you, or to me. That they probably wouldn't do it to me, because I haven't bugged them enough (or at all) is not a good answer. It's called "selective enforcement", and it's a really, really bad idea. Even worse than the idea that a malfunctioning gun is a MG.
 

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swillden said:
It doesn't matter if Olofson has previously skirted the edges of the rules. What matters is what he was charged with and what the court found.
+10

I agree that unjust laws should be changed. I suppose that's my whole point. I also agree that in principle, we should enforce laws that are not egregiously tyrannical, even if we disagree with them.

(Take Arizona's previous law that the burden of proving that a self-defense killing was indeed self-defense. The burden of proof was on the defendant... One man got a 10 year sentence partly because the jury was told they should convict him if the defendant couldn't prove his innocence. (and partly because the plaintiff convinced the jury that a 10mm cartridge was going overboard for self-defense and should be punished, but that's not the point of my story) [Almost everyone agrees the case was clearly one of self defense.] --- Anyway, that is one case where the law was so egregiously wrong that I think it shouldn't have been enforced. -- The burden of proof of guilt should clearly be on the plaintiff.

In any case, please note that I said we SHOULD obey unjust laws. I can also agree that we should enforce the ones that aren't too unjust.

When it comes to court, though, I completely agree with swillden... that is, the court finding him guilty by using "kangaroo court" tactics is deplorable.
 

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swillden said:
Your point appears to be that it's okay that they railroaded him, because they'd been trying to find something on him for a while, because he liked to push the limits of the rules. I disagree. If they can do it to him, they can do it to you, or to me. That they probably wouldn't do it to me, because I haven't bugged them enough (or at all) is not a good answer. It's called "selective enforcement", and it's a really, really bad idea. Even worse than the idea that a malfunctioning gun is a MG.
No.

What I originally said was that I was in the middle and saw both sides of it.

I don't like the court's findings any more than you do. I believe the law needs to be better written, otherwise the precedent set by this case will govern. Nevertheless, the law can't be ignored or unenforced.

The case seems to be setting a dangerous precedent which CAN send some ignorant someone to jail for a gun that's simply broken. I believe that's wrong.
I don't believe that's what happened in this case. Olofson or whoever isn't some kind of "victim" of a government run amok. His gun wasn't "broken," and he's neither innocent nor ignorant.

As for "selective enforcement", right or wrong - it happens ALL the time. If you get pulled over for speeding and are nice and the cop likes you, he'll likely let you off with a warning. If you're a total jerk, you not only ensure he will write you up, but he'll also look closely for a tail light, window tint, radio volume, or anything else he can try to nail you for. If someone wants to taunt law enforcement like Olofson did, they're free to do so. But they better not whine about it and play the victim when they get scrutinized for something that can be pinned on them.

I guess (to clarify) my point is: there was no good guy in this situation. The government might have done some stuff, but they did some stuff to "get" a guy that had been doing a lot of stuff himself. What the government did was not okay, but what he was doing/had been doing wasn't okay either.

:dunno:
 

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mchlwise said:
As for "selective enforcement", right or wrong - it happens ALL the time.
Yes, it does. And it needs to be complained about LOUDLY and fought in every case, because it's always wrong.

Your example of a speeding ticket isn't really selective enforcement. The officer is specifically authorized to make a judgment call based on whether or not he thinks you're the kind of person who poses a danger on the road or not. That makes sense given the goals of traffic enforcement and the realities of burdens on his time.

When it comes to laws that carry prison terms as penalties, and whose purported goal is to prevent mass murders, though, selective enforcement is a very, very bad thing and we should not accept it.

As for whether or not Olofson was a good guy, I couldn't care less. To me that's completely irrelevant. He was still railroaded and in the process a very dangerous precedent was set. The only thing that concerns me at all about his other actions is that they might be used to muddy the waters.
 

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swillden said:
Your example of a speeding ticket isn't really selective enforcement.
It was a flawed example, but something everyone can relate to.

Again, selective enforcement happens all the time, including with very serious cases. Prosecutors have VERY wide leeway on who they can prosecute or not. If you want a real eye opener, look up some case law on how much discretion a prosecutor has. :shocked:

Right or wrong, it's a fact of our legal system. Whether they come at him like this :wink: or like this :bat: can depend greatly on whether the prosecutors and law enforcement think somebody is a "good guy" or not.
 

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mchlwise said:
What I originally said was that I was in the middle and saw both sides of it.

I don't like the court's findings any more than you do. I believe the law needs to be better written, otherwise the precedent set by this case will govern. Nevertheless, the law can't be ignored or unenforced.

The case seems to be setting a dangerous precedent which CAN send some ignorant someone to jail for a gun that's simply broken. I believe that's wrong.
I don't believe that's what happened in this case.
Mchlwise, I tend to agree with your sentiment in this case (as I read it, which is to say, the only thing I know about it is what I have read here).

But I also have a strong reservation and concern about what I have read. And it's based largely on this last statement of yours I quoted above.

The problem I have with it isn't that you don't mind that an otherwise guilty guy is getting deal with a bit unjustly -- I can see your logic there... similar, as you pointed out, how the gov't was able to round up a lot of the organized crime syndicates.

But the problem I do have with that statement above is IN HOW IT APPLIES TO ME. Was the guy dealt with unfairly??? It seems so, yes. But did he have it coming to him anyways??? Again, it seems so, yes. Do I care that HE IN PARTICULAR got shafted??? No, not really. But (and here's my point) in shafting him, YOU AND I ARE NOW SHAFTED TOO. By figuring out a way to manipulate the legal rules and then apply those manipulated rules in a courtroom setting and thereby getting a PRECEDENCE-setting judgment against this guy, YOU AND I JUST HAD NEW RULES AND NEW LAWS (unjust ones, it should be pointed-out) PLACED OVER OUR HEADS.

So I ask this question: Is putting one law-skirting guy to task for his deeds a worthy enough goal for you and I to pay the high-price of LOSING yet another piece of our freedom and another piece of our legal rights and protections???

Think about it... if there are NO RULES/STANDARDS WHEREBY TO TEST A FIREARM TO ENSURE IT DOES/DOES NOT MEET THE DEFINITION OF AN "AUTOMATIC MG", HOW CAN *YOU* (the law-abiding guy) EVER TEST YOUR OWN WEAPON TO ENSURE IT COMPLIES??? How can you comply with something for which there is no standard or definition for you to comply with??? And when the judgment allows for this guy's MALFUNCTIONING firearm to be classified as illegal, you can sure bet that NOW THAT SAME RULING CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU, EVEN IN YOUR OWN IGNORANCE OF A MALFUNCTION.

In the end the problem isn't so much how this ruling came to be placed on this one guy... the much larger and all-important problem is that this ruling now affects each and every one of us. Tell me, are you just a little bit more scared to pull the trigger on your firearm??? Because with judges and laws and governmental groups like this, YOU SHOULD BE.
 

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bane said:
In the end the problem isn't so much how this ruling came to be placed on this one guy... the much larger and all-important problem is that this ruling now affects each and every one of us.
Absolutely.

As I said, and as you quoted:

mchlwise said:
I don't like the court's findings any more than you do. I believe the law needs to be better written, otherwise the precedent set by this case will govern.
Your points are very valid, and I have the same concerns. I'm not scared to pull the trigger any more today than I was before the ruling, because the likelihood of either my Beretta or my Kahr misfiring in a way anyone can construe this ruling to affect is nearly impossible. It's even less likely that I would be prosecuted for that extremely remote possibility. Nevertheless, the precedent has been set.

I believe your concerns need to be directed at your Congressman, or your Senator, or someone who can otherwise look at this precedent and the laws surrounding it, and introduce legislation to clarify what a "machine gun" is. The problem I see with that is the same "problem" that I have with this case: it's regarding a guy who probably wasn't very nice, and isn't the poster child for this issue that Lou Dobbs and others want to make him out to be.

I'm reminded (strangely enough) of a Chris Rock routine about O.J. Simpson. He said "I ain't sayin it was right... but I UNDERSTAND." I ain't sayin what the government did in this case was right... but I understand. Lou Dobbs and others want to parade this guy around like some poor victim of the gestapo-like federal government, who went after him for no reason when he was just a nice, patriotic, apple-pie eating, law-abiding citizen who innocently shot a broken gun. That's just not the case, and if you try to hold this guy up as if it IS the case, you lose credibility and then the very real and important issue of gun laws that need to be changed loses credibility too.

:dunno:
 

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Mchlwise, I see your point in not using this guy as the poster-child to get things fixed.

I think part of the problem, though, is that it almost can't be helped now that his case set precedence.

:puke:
 
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