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Manufacturing Outrage

This blogger takes issue with GOA’s handling of the Olofson machine gun case:

I’ve never posted about the Olofson case here, because, in addition to the fact that it was put out by GOA, it never passed the smell test. To believe the story–that an innocent man was charged with and convicted of a felony simply due to a mechanical malfunction occurring with one of his rifles–one would have to ignore the very real fact that intent is a required element of the crime charged, and that an actual malfunction in an otherwise legal and unmodified firearm would totally negate that element. Hell, AR-15 rifles will sometimes trip off multiple shots when the disconnector breaks or wears. Every AR-15 shooter knows this. I just had one that was doing it and I casually mentioned it a few posts ago. Does that make me a felon? No. Because I didn’t deliberately cause it and I remedied it by replacing the disconnector.

I’ve posted similar thoughts here, but I won’t stand by the notion that David Olofson got what’s coming to him, because I just don’t believe what he did should be a crime, nor do I think the public is served in any way, shape or form by him being in prison.  The real injustice is the laws that make using certain naughty gun parts a multi-year felony.

17 Responses to “Manufacturing Outrage”

  1. Jacob says:

    This level of dishonesty from GOA makes me glad I dropped my membership years ago. Apparently they haven’t figured that out yet as they keep sending me a new membership card every year. It makes me wonder how many dues paying members they really have.

  2. KK says:

    Agreed. CNN recently did a story on this also and did not do the details justice. They were simply out to dramatize the story.
    The jury heard all the details, including testimony from his buddy that Olofson knew the gun fired full auto. They also heard of his prior firearm problems with the law, including concealing a loaded pistol while trick or treating with his kids.
    GOA doesn’t mention any of this in the press I have seen from them.

  3. Jacob says:

    I would expect nothing less from the Crap News Network.

    The larger problem is GOA which over the past couple of years is rapidly becoming more of a problem than the Brady Campaign.

  4. Mike Gallo says:

    It was an open carry / disorderly conduct charge while trick-or-treating. You guys sure seem to have a warped perception of this. I haven’t read a damn thing from the GOA on this, and it smells like a ATF setup. Do all the tin-foil-hat calling you want to, but I’ve read the case transcripts and the very problem here is that THE JUDGE SAID INTENT DIDN’T MATTER.

  5. workinwifdakids says:

    If I were on a jury like that, they’d have a hard time convincing me to not go with jury nullification.

  6. Jacob says:

    Right, ATF snuck into Olofson’s house when nobody else was around, drilled out his rifle to install a 3 position switch, put it back hoping neither he nor anyone else would notice the modifications and laughed all the way back to HQ about how they planned to bust him later on.

    I have no problem with Joe Citizen having machine guns. What I do have a problem with is dishonest people. Instead of putting together a Heller-like case to challenge NFA, we get a load of BS from people trying to make a martyr out of an asshole.

  7. tjbbpgob says:

    Amen on the jury nullification workinwifdakids. More people need to read up on that.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Oh, I’m not agreeing with the guy that ATF were angels here. Their issues were prominently on display.

    But intent doesn’t matter. If you just intend to fix something, and you make the gun fire on full auto, you still have a machine gun, and you know you have a machine gun. The charge was transferring a machine gun. All that had to be established is that Olofson knew he had a machine gun in his possession, and knowingly transferred it. The jury was presented with evidence of this. You can argue that it was manufactured evidence, that the kid was coerced into lying, and that might be true. But the jury didn’t buy it, and that’s why Olofson is in jail.

  9. BC says:

    I have no problem with Joe Citizen having machine guns. What I do have a problem with is dishonest people. Instead of putting together a Heller-like case to challenge NFA, we get a load of BS from people trying to make a martyr out of an asshole.

    Quoted for truth.

  10. deadcenter says:

    After reading the transcript, I would have voted aquital. According to both experts, the gun in question had 4 of the 5 parts needed to make it an M16 rather than an AR15. That is, it was an AR15 with 4 parts from an M16 swapped for the same AR15 parts. The missing part, the auto sear, was not present in the AR15. Now, if the gun fired full auto with only 4 of the 5 parts needed, then why did the original design add an extra part? To me, if the gun is firing full auto with only 80% of necessary parts, it’s a malfunctioning firearm, not a machine gun.

    dc

  11. Sebastian says:

    DC,

    They didn’t find the auto sear, which is the necessary part in question, and retested the firearm to get the result they wanted. I agree it was a malfunctioning firearm, but one could argue with the extra M16 parts that it was a malfunctioning M16, rather than an AR-15. Remember what the NFA’s definition of a machinegun is:

    The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

    Meaning if all you have to do is drop a DIAS in, and you’re ready to rock and roll, you can make the argument that it’s readily restorable. In fact, that is the wording in the law the ATF regulations on naughty M16 parts are based on. You can argue the law sucks, as I do, but it is the law.

  12. Mike Gallo says:

    IMHO, that’s exactly why ATF kept going back and badgering his family, Sebastian – they were undoubtedly trying to find a DIAS.

    Jacob – don’t insult me. I didn’t insinuate that ATF planted evidence, and you should get your facts straight before being snarky. The reciever had not been modified, so nobody drilled anything. Many AR-15 rifles made during the 1980s came with M16 FCG and BCG parts, so it’s not wierd to see them used as replacements. I don’t get why you guys are so willing to hang this guy out to dry – based on this judges ruling, ANYTIME YOU HAVE A DOUBLE OR TRIPLE BASED ON A MALFUNCTION, YOU ARE NOW A FELON. You should all be less worried about whether or not you like this guy (a moot point), and more worried about the fudds at the range that call the cops on you when your AK hammer-follows next time (the main point).

  13. Jacob says:

    From the original post at Lagniappes Lair:

    “… Robert Kiernicki–stated that he knew that the rifle would fire in bursts if he moved the selector switch to the rear (something that cannot be done on any unmodified AR-15) and that he did so on purpose at his gun club, which was how the rifle came to the attention of the lawful authorities. Kiernicki also stated that Olofson’s gun “had the extra pin” that allowed it to fire fully-automatically. This would of course be an auto sear pin, and those aren’t legal on any semi-automatic AR-15. A hole has to be drilled for one and that’s not done by accident either …”

    I believe this establishes that Olofson did in fact modify his rifle.

  14. Sebastian says:

    IMHO, that’s exactly why ATF kept going back and badgering his family, Sebastian – they were undoubtedly trying to find a DIAS.

    That’s my guess, because it would have signed, sealed and delivered a conviction. But it wasn’t a necessary element of proving the crime in question.

  15. Sebastian says:

    I don’t get why you guys are so willing to hang this guy out to dry – based on this judges ruling, ANYTIME YOU HAVE A DOUBLE OR TRIPLE BASED ON A MALFUNCTION, YOU ARE NOW A FELON.

    Because by not seeking competent legal council from the get go, he hung the rest of us out to dry. If there is going to be an exception for a malfunctioning semi-auto, judges will need to create that, because it’s not in the law. The best kind of case to get that carved out with, would be someone who actually does have a malfunctioning AR-15, not someone who put a bunch of M16 parts into his AR, and then got bad legal help.

  16. Jacob says:

    I agree with that, but more importantly is the dishonesty. It seems quite apparent that neither Olofson nor GOA came clean with what really happened and that is the point where my sympathy for him goes out the window.

  17. Mike Gallo says:

    That the kid said any of that is not what I question, Jacob. Have you read the transcript? There are so many half-truths and suppositions on the part of the prosecution, I couldn’t believe it. If the rifle had been modified, why was it not offered as an exhibit at trial? The only thing at trial was a VIDEO of ATF firing it. Len Savage was allowed to look inside the rifle (but not touch it), and he verified that no modifications had been made.

    Also – that statement doesn’t make sense – I can put an M16 selector into my AR lower right now, and it will move to the rear. There is no difference in diameter between a two-way and three-way selector switch; the difference is in the machining on the shaft. This is why they would be looking for a DIAS – if a hole was drilled for an auto sear, they would have said so in trial – instead the ATF merely said “he had these books on how to do it,” even though he had not made any modifications.

    Again, I don’t refute that Mr. Olofson did many, many things wrong here, and that it ended up hurting all of us. The fact that all of this BS got passed a jury doesn’t surprise me, but the fact that it got passed a judge scares the living hell out of me. Oh, well. Dad always told me not to trust judges, and dad’s a lawyer…

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