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Author Topic: BATF  (Read 1420 times)

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UsedFoodProcessor

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BATF
« on: July 27, 2008, 12:13:59 PM »

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Malfunctioning gun sends veteran to prisonJeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 7/26/2008 4:20:00 AMBookmark and Sharevar addthis_pub = 'onenewsnow';
target shooting gun
A pro-Second Amendment group is taking the unusual step of asking for financial help for the family of a gun owner caught up in a bizarre prosecution for a malfunctioning firearm.
 

David Olofson is a U.S. Army veteran, Army Reservist and a gun enthusiast who loaned his personal 20-year-old AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to a neighbor who had expressed an interest in learning to shoot.  A semi-automatic weapon fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled.  But – as Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, explains – when the neighbor took the gun to a range, it malfunctioned, firing several rounds with one trigger pull and then jamming.
 
"Now that, by normal people's thinking is a malfunction.  A gun that jams, even after it's fired a small burst, is hardly a controllable firearm.  That's a gun that needs fixing," he explains. "But according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), that is a machine gun -- and they got a jury to buy that."
 
Olofson was sentenced to 30 months in jail for "transferring a machine gun" to his neighbor.  But Pratt says the government got that conviction based on what it did not tell the jury, not based on the facts of the case.
 
"They didn't tell the jury that their witness, the fellow who had borrowed the gun, had been paid repeatedly by the federal government," says Pratt. "They didn't tell the jury that they had back-dated the second lab test so that it would pre-date the criminal complaint against Mr. Olofson.  The first lab test showed that it was a semi-automatic.  The second lab test was where they 'proved' that it was an automatic.  The judge, at conviction, overlooked the fact that the Supreme Court has defined a gun that behaves like Mr. Olofson's as, 'not a machine gun.'"
 
Pratt also accuses the BATF of withholding evidence that would have cleared Olofson.  Some 20 years ago, the ATF issued a recall of the specific rifle that Olofson owned for malfunctioning in the manner that the Bureau now claims makes the rifle a machine gun. "The problem is, the other copy of the letter, that was sent to the manufacturer, burned up when the factory burned down in 2000," he notes. "So, we weren't able to get a copy of the letter and the BATF just folded their arms and said, 'You can't have it.'"
 
Published testimony from the BATF firearms examiner who tested Olofson's rifle shows he was originally unable to make the weapon fire as a machine gun and had to try alternative ammunition to recreate the malfunction.  ATF examiner Max Kingery also testified at first that the weapon firing in fully-automatic mode was a malfunction, then contradicted himself in later testimony.  BATF has refused media requests for comment on the case, saying only that obtaining a conviction proves they were right to prosecute Olofson.
 
As a result of the discrepancies in the case, Gun Owners of America is not only representing Olofson in his appeal of the conviction, the group is also asking gun owners and other Second Amendment supporters to help Olofson's family while he remains in prison.  Olofson's wife is trying to pay their bills and care for their three children without her husband or his income while he fights the conviction. Information on the David Olofson Relief Fund is available on the Gun Owners of America website.

Offline What_The?

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Re: BATF
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 03:51:53 PM »
See, the Bush Admin. is DESTROYING the SECOND AMENDMENT!
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline cowboy

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Re: BATF
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 08:38:25 PM »
Its the democratic congress thats doing the destroying

Offline What_The?

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Re: BATF
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 08:47:11 PM »
Its the democratic congress thats doing the destroying

Clearly someone who has a deep understanding of the separation of powers.
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline matrsnot

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Re: BATF
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2008, 11:32:18 PM »
Actually, it is all the administrations and the congress.  They work hard to socialize this country.  In order to get us under control, they must first get our guns.  A man without a gun is a slave.  A man with a gun is a citizen.  The Democrats take the brunt of this, but the Republicans have just been more devious about it.

Offline What_The?

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Re: BATF
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2008, 02:47:20 AM »
ATF is a DOJ law enforcement agency within the DOJ.  As such they are neither part of the Legislative nor Judicial branches of government.  The ATF's director is nominated by the President.  The current acting director nominated by Dubya.  The DOJ, of course, is headed by someone nominated by Dubya.  Congress has only the authority to either block or accept the nomination of the head of these branches.  Both are under the executive branch of the government, headed by Dubya.  Congress has zero control over DOJ and ATF.   The only reason anyone wants to blame congress is because, by a razor thin voting margin, the Democrats have "control" over congress, THANKS TO THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN VOTERS.

Other articles relating to this issue:

In honor of this, I have upgraded to a life membership in the NRA (well, and because they were offering it for half price at the Annual Meeting).  I have blogged little about the Olofson case.  I knew my views on this were going to piss a lot of people off, because while I think it represents the ATF at its worst, it also represents our side at its worst as well.  Everyone needs to read the entire thread on AR-15.com.  Olofson is Bladerunner2347.  Some comments:

    * When served with a federal search warrant, the smart thing to do is shut up and get a good lawyer.  Posting about your case for the world to see is not a wise idea when the federales come knocking down your door.
    * It’s rarely a winning strategy to represent yourself, and using a disbarred lawyer to help you doesn’t sound like one either.  This is probably a big reason why NRA didn’t get involved.  Most competent attorneys who practice gun law are able to get that kind of help, but NRA has to be asked.
    * Ignoring advice of real lawyers who say a legal argument that challenges jurisdiction of the federal argument to charge you won’t do anything except piss off the judge strikes me as a bad idea as well.
    * The kid he lent the AR to made a sworn statement that Olafson had told him not to move the selector into the unmarked burst mode setting because it was missing “some type of thing.”  That type of thing would likely be a drop in auto sear.
    * Why would you lend an AR that has been partially converted to someone, when you can probably bet they are going to actually try pushing the selector past fire?
    * Olofson’s AR contained numerous M16 parts.  As far as I know, some manufacturers in the 70s and 80s used some M16 parts in their AR-15s, like bolt carriers and hammers, until the ATF issued a ruling that the practice be stopped.  Olofson’s AR had an M16 trigger, disconnector, selector, and hammer.  As far as I know, there weren’t any manufacturers that used this many M16 parts in their ARs.  The agent who examined the parts, correctly in my view, stated that this did not constitute a machine gun, but ATF has long held M16 parts in an AR to be a no no.
    * Implying that the ATF broke into your house and planted evidence is not going to work with a jury unless you have other evidence to back this up.  Admitting you disposed of evidence doesn’t seem like a good idea either, especially when the evidence in question was the one part in question that would make the AR a fully working machine gun.

This isn’t to say the ATF have been angels in this case.  Most of the criticisms I’ve seen leveled at ATF have been on the money.  ATF pretty clearly deserves to be raked over the coals for:

    * Not having any standardized testing procedures for determining if a firearm is a machine gun.
    * Not having any standard for determining if the requesite parts in possession constitute “readily convertible”
    * Not allowing the defense access to evidence against them so that it may be examined by their own experts.
    * The ruling that any M16 parts constitute a machine gun is bogus, and deserves to be rebuked in court.  ATF should have the burden to prove that the arm, or combination of parts in question, is a functioning machine gun, or can be readily made into a functioning machine gun.  Basically, if they didn’t find the auto-sear, they shouldn’t have a case.

If you’re going to challenge the ATF on these matters, you need to have competent legal counsel that’s experienced in firearms laws.  It is not the time to play legal expert.  If you lose your case, you’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting every gun owner out there, because now ATF has winning precedent they can use to screw everybody else.

I don’t blame NRA for not getting involved in this case, because a) they were never asked, and b) the case is a bloody mess, with a poor defendant and a poor circumstances.  The case was very likely from the get go to result in a loss that would actually harm gun owners, rather than help them.  That’s why I get pissy when guys like this do stupid shit that gets them in trouble and then pile more stupid shit on top of that when they get caught and go to trial.  If we’re going to challenge them in court, we have to have our A game on, and I don’t see any evidence that this was the case here.

That said, I believe Americans have a right to own an M16, and I don’t think the public safety is enhanced one iota by putting Mr. Olofson in prison.  But ATF went ahead with this, and it won.  Now some are turning it into one more reason to bash the NRA.  Sorry, but you don’t get to douse yourself with gasoline, light yourself on fire, and then run around bitching that no one is helping you put out the fire.  I call bullshit on that one.  We have to choose our battles carefully, and this isn’t a case I’d want to use to challenge ATF.

***********



 
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline Gascozark

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Re: BATF
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2008, 04:11:29 PM »
Quote
* The kid he lent the AR to made a sworn statement that Olafson had told him not to move the selector into the unmarked burst mode setting because it was missing “some type of thing.”  That type of thing would likely be a drop in auto sear.
    * Why would you lend an AR that has been partially converted to someone, when you can probably bet they are going to actually try pushing the selector past fire?

 (((((   There is more to this story than what is revealed in the original post.  Do a little searching online and you will discover that the guy behind bars is no rocket scientist.  I don't really feel that sorry for him.  If you have such a rifle, with questionable functionality issues, you don't loan it to some jerk that is going to haul it to the nearest public range!  DUH!
 
 :)