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Old February 3, 2009, 05:08 PM   #1
HvyMtl
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US vs Olofson -misfire semi-auto = machine gun

This is sad. A Military Vet, honorably discharged, serving in the Reserves. Has a LEGAL AR15, semi-automatic rifle. It is defective and misfires, allowing more than one shot per trigger pull.

The ATF arrests him and the Justice Department goes after him and gets a CONVICTION, on an improper definition of what a machine gun is.

IF you own any semi-auto weapon (say a Glock 17, or a PX4 Storm, or a Taurus 24/7, or an AK, or AR15, M1a, FAL, etc.) that is defective, and therefore allows more than one shot per pull of the trigger - you are a law breaker under this Court decision, and can be prosecuted and imprisoned!

http://gunowners.org/svtb.htm

Lou Dobb's coverage.

http://gunowners.org/a122208.htm

Gun Owners of America is paying for Olofson's defense.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND ASK THEM TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS INJUSTICE.
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Old February 3, 2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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Are you talking of an appeal? This is an old case in which he was found guilty.
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Old February 3, 2009, 05:35 PM   #3
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This has been discussed.

The rifle had a third firing position for auto fire. The person he transferred the gun to testified that olofson told him about the third firing position. It wasn't a malfunction.

He did not serve as honorably as portrayed. He hacked into the government computer system and used it for his militia groups website(for which he was reprimanded), and he was recruiting members of his reserve unit for his militia unit. Based upon his conviction and his previous misconduct he would likely receive an Other than Honorable discharge through an administrative separation proceeding.

Please don't buy the bull that this guy and his supporters would have you believe. Take your tin foil hat off, the black helicpters are not coming for you.
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Old February 3, 2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Sigh...report post button hit.

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Old February 3, 2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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I'm going to leave this open because these items are current.

It's currently winding through the appeals courts as the links note.

I didn't find anything here at TFL regarding his appeals.
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Old February 3, 2009, 10:06 PM   #6
vranasaurus
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Here is my understanding:

The defense says that because it jammed when it fired automatically it doesn't meet the technical definition of a machine gun. They are not saying that it malfunctined to fire automatically they are saying it is not a machine gun because by definition a machine gun must fire until the trigger is released or it runs out of ammo and since it jammed it didn't do either of those two things. It stopped firing when it jammed so it can't be a machine gun. The defense admits that it fired automatically.

I can see through that argument and so can anyone with any sense. If it was modified to fire automatically and jammed when doing so it is still a machine gun. I've seen an M249, M2, and M60 all jam before expending their ammo or the trigger being released. Does this mean they aren't machine guns.

In my eyes a machine gun is any weapon that is designed or modified to fire automatically. Since testimony at the trial established that the weapon in question had a third firing position it was clearly modified to fire automatically and is thus a machine gun.

The defenses argument would also mean that a weapon that fires 3 shot burst wouldn't technically be a machine gun. Because it doesn't fire until the trigger is released or it runs out of ammo.
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Old February 4, 2009, 12:00 AM   #7
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The critical issue here is the DEFINITION used.

The definition used for machine gun - which got the conviction, (summarizing) any firearm that fires more than one round per trigger pull, even if the firearm is malfunctioning, is a machine gun.

THAT IS THE CRITICAL issue - because, if the conviction is allowed to stand, anyone with a malfunctioning semi-auto firearm (say a Taurus 24/7, or a Glock, or a FAL, or M1a, or AR15, etc.) that shoots more than one round when the trigger is pulled once is in violation of the law and can be arrested... for a defective gun.

Gun shop owners, how would you like to have to report every defective gun that does this to the ATF?

Do any of you think for one moment innocent people will not be arrested under the new precedent? Anyone not think the ATF or Justice Dept are pro-gun ownership and wont use this?

True, the fellow may not be the hero Lou Dobbs makes him out to be. But the definition used will replace the present, more realistic one. Having the guy go down under a poor interpretation of the law does no law abiding citizen any good, even if he would be guilty under the older, more realistic view of what a machine gun is...

It is present news as his appeal process is presently going on. Arguments have recently been heard.

Side note: Who woulda thought CNN and Lou Dobbs would be so pro 2nd A???
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Old February 4, 2009, 03:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HvyMtl
THAT IS THE CRITICAL issue - because, if the conviction is allowed to stand, anyone with a malfunctioning semi-auto firearm (say a Taurus 24/7, or a Glock, or a FAL, or M1a, or AR15, etc.) that shoots more than one round when the trigger is pulled once is in violation of the law and can be arrested... for a defective gun.
I don't think the facts of the case support a need to worry about that.

I read the briefs that the GOA lawyers submitted for the appeal, I don't see anything that refutes the major points of the initial government affidavit.

You can read this thread where we went over it last July.

Owner of broken rifle surrenders for 30-month sentence




Now either points 13 and 17 of the sworn affidavit are false and fictitious, or Olofson broke the law. If the OP and the GOA are contending that the government lied and made its evidence up out of whole cloth, where is the evidence that proves that claim?




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Old February 4, 2009, 03:52 AM   #9
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THAT IS THE CRITICAL issue - because, if the conviction is allowed to stand, anyone with a malfunctioning semi-auto firearm (say a Taurus 24/7, or a Glock, or a FAL, or M1a, or AR15, etc.) that shoots more than one round when the trigger is pulled once is in violation of the law and can be arrested... for a defective gun.
Is that what the issue is? Have you read the briefs?

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Old February 4, 2009, 04:46 AM   #10
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I have fired an AR with a Jewell from the factory.For the owner,no problem,but,with my trigger squeeze,it would double tap occasionally.

Unsettling,unsafe,bad for concentration.No intent,just a malfunction.

I had a new Norinco SKS multipop a few times.A clean and lube fixed it

I want squeeky clean legal,no trouble.

Do we have to sweat prison over an honest malfunction of non-modified semi-auto parts?
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Old February 4, 2009, 08:54 AM   #11
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It had a third selector position and fired more than one round per pull of the trigger. That is a machine gun. There was no malfunciton that caused it to fire this way. What is it about this that some people cannot understand?
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Old February 4, 2009, 10:40 AM   #12
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As we see from the affadavits, the selector switch moved to the third position, which then made the rifle shoot in burst capacity. This makes is suspect beyond 'malfunction.'

My 2 cents.
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Old February 4, 2009, 01:12 PM   #13
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While I know, in a general manner, the differences between an M-16 and an AR-15, I'm not savy in the technical aspects... Such as what is required for the selector switch to be moved into the third (and presumably auto or burst mode) position. My laymans assumption, if the selector is an original part, is that something which must have been modified on the receiver?

If that assumption is true, then despite any fact that no M-16 parts were ever ordered (as contended and not rebutted), Olofson modified his AR-15 to enable the selector to move into the third position.

Assuming arguendo, then what effect, if any, would this have on the function of the rifle? Would this alone cause the rifle to fire in burst mode or auto fire mode?
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Old February 4, 2009, 01:21 PM   #14
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Al, It is my little understanding that mods to bolt/sear or other internals can put some semi rifles into full auto battery capacity... I may be completely wrong and if so admit lack of official knowledge on this...
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Old February 4, 2009, 01:31 PM   #15
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(If) Olofson modified his AR-15 to enable the selector to move into the third position.. . . . .Would this alone cause the rifle to fire in burst mode or auto fire mode?
My understanding is no. A full auto trigger group, and removal of material within the receiver is also necessary.
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Old February 4, 2009, 02:09 PM   #16
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Does anyone have a link to the Governments appellate brief? I couldn't find a link over at the 7th circuit website.

The reason I'm asking all this?

Did the Government prove that Olofson modified the receiver and other components? According to the brief posted above, there were only 3 M-16 parts (original parts of this particular firearm, placed by the manufacturer) and they were not enough to produce auto-fire except through a malfunction.

If this is in fact true, then the decision could very well come back to bite us all: i.e. That any firearm that produces more than a single shot with a single pull of the trigger, is an automatic firearm, regardless of malfunction or not.

Currently, it is my understanding that the Government did prove that Olofson modified the rifle beyond what is being portrayed.
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Old February 4, 2009, 02:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antipitas
Does anyone have a link to the Governments appellate brief?
No, but I found the sentencing memorandum and it contains information that will likely appear in the governments appellate brief. Here is a link and an excerpt.

GOVERNMENT’S SENTENCING MEMORANDUM



Olofson’s firearm fired automatically because, although it was a semiautomatic AR-

15, it had M-16 fire control components. More specifically, the firearm had an M-16 trigger,

hammer, disconnector, and selector. Olofson’s firearm was not manufactured with that

configuration of M-16 fire control components. Tr. 120, 136-37.

Olofson was aware that those M-16 components were in his AR-15 and that it was

those components that caused his firearm to fire automatically. E-mails and other

documents on his computer showed that he had ordered M-16 parts. And he had a manual

that described how to convert a semiautomatic AR-15 to an automatic M-16 by substituting

the very M-16 parts that were in Olofson’s converted machinegun – that is, the hammer,

the trigger, the disconnector, and the selector. Tr. 74-80. Olofson knew that his firearm

fired automatically and, given this evidence, likely was the person who made the

conversions that allowed it to do so.

Olofson characterizes his gun as a “malfunctioning AR-15.” Def. Sent. Memo. at 6.

Olofson’s gun was “malfunctioning” only in the obvious sense that, by firing automatically,

it was not functioning as a semiautomatic AR-15 is designed to operate. If Olofson means

to suggest by use of the term “malfunctioning” that the automatic fire capability of his gun

was inadvertant and was something about which he had no knowledge, such a position has

no support in evidence and is flatly contrary to the jury’s unanimous verdict. Olofson’s

claim of “a conviction by technical application of the law” and his argument that there was

no “intent behind the violation of law” similarly miss the mark. Def. Sent. Memo. at 6.
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Old February 4, 2009, 03:21 PM   #18
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Al I found the governments sentencing memo and while obviously biased in favour of the governments interpretation, it can be seen there that the jury surely could have believed Olafson knew what he was doing, especially with the evidence adduced and the jury being the trier of fact and judge of credibility....

This email from Olafson cited in that brief says it all:

"MG’s [machineguns] are just the small toys one can get. Remember, as a Sovereign you are unhindered by the regulations that the federal citizens have to follow. There is a separate set of paperwork dealers must fill out to cover there [sic] butts on where the weapons and other items went. That is what a Sovereigns alien ID number dose [sic] for him. It’s just a way of accounting for where it went. Yes you can build any weapon you like. To
learn more, especially details on the paperwork you should learn more about Sovereignty first. After some basic knowledge we will walk you through everything the first time to help you get the hang of it. Finding real freedom for the first time is like a babies [sic] first steps. You haven’t really done it before so you don’t’s know what it’s like. But we can change that. Then you can literally do most anything you want so long as it interferes with no others rights or person."

https://secure.jsonline.com/Communit...n-usa-memo.pdf

What that memo demonstrates (if a fair construct of the evidence) is Olafson was an anti government zealot with a prior criminal history who knew what he was doing. The jury heard the proof and convicted him. The existence of these threads claiming him to be a martyr demonstrates nothing more than blind adherence to the gunwoobie instead of critical thinking.

The appeals Court will have it's say. Then we should revisit it. I may be wrong in what I have seen and if so, I will join the chorus. But right now, he is a convicted SCUMBAG who's actions with firearms were no different that the rest of the street thugs who blacken the reputation of all gun owners...the difference between him and the other thugs is that he is white and shares political views with many gunwoobieites.

My suggestion is that these threads should be locked until the Coircuit Courts decides.

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Old February 4, 2009, 03:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
While I know, in a general manner, the differences between an M-16 and an AR-15, I'm not savy in the technical aspects... Such as what is required for the selector switch to be moved into the third (and presumably auto or burst mode) position. My laymans assumption, if the selector is an original part, is that something which must have been modified on the receiver?
The parts which differ between an AR-15 and a full auto M-16 are the trigger, hammer, disconnector, auto sear, and selector switch (there's another couple parts for a burst fire rifle). The bolt carrier is also different, but a full auto bolt carrier itself is not an attempt to make a FA weapon- many folks with semiauto ARs prefer FA carriers and that alone won't cause squat.

From everything I've read about this case, the guy had willfully installed an FA fire control group into a semiauto receiver (missing an extra hole for the auto sear and maybe another cut on the inside- don't remember about the cut). When placed into the full auto position, the selector switch engages the auto sear, which is then tripped by the bolt carrier when it reaches its fully closed position (that is where the difference between a semiauto and fully auto BC lies; the FA one has the lower rear machined to a very specific point- SA ones will either have more material, less material, or no material there, making it impossible for one to trip the auto sear if one were present).

A semiauto trigger, hammer, and disconnector don't even have the ability to be mated to an auto sear without modification.

The repeated firing in this case was not caused by a slamfire. It was not caused by legitimate broken parts. It was caused by installing parts which were not legal to install and then refusing to remedy that situation when it became clear that the rifle did fire full auto bursts.

As stupid as the NFA may be, it's still the law and this guy was clearly in violation of it. There's a long way between Olofson's AR-15 and a SKS with a dirty firing pin channel.
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Old February 4, 2009, 05:01 PM   #20
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This guy is definitely not the posterboy for RKBA...

A brief read of both the federal affidavit and the GOA briefing shows that Olofson is guilty as hell. However, there are some salient issues that should concern all of us.

1. Olofson claimed that the AR15 was originally manufactured by Olympic with the M16 parts provided. ATF testified that they had not asked the manufacturer about this particular rifle; but that it was not manufactured this way. Olofson's attorney demanded the ATF turn over any pretrial correspondence with Olympic relating to the case. The Government first declined to produce the correspondence saying it would be impossible to find. The government prosecutor then admitted that there was an ATF/Olympic letter but said that it was not exculpatory and was privileged under the Internal Revenue code. The Court ruled that it didn't see how whether the rifle was shipped with M16 parts or not was exculpatory and denied the request to produce the ATF/Olympic letter.

I think we can all agree that despite Olofson's awkward nature, we would all like to have the benefit of being able to use correspondence from the manufacturer to the ATF that supported our defense.

2. The prosecution and defense agreed to allow technical experts to be present during the hearing and right before the prosecution's firearms expert testified, they reneged on the deal and excluded the defense firearms expert so he was unable to rebut any testimony made that day.

Again, I know if it was me on the line, I would not be happy about this particular move by the government, although it is one they arguably can do anyway.

3. Olofson wanted the jury instruction definition of a machinegun to be the definition given by the Supreme Court in United States vs. Staples; because that definition was slightly more favorable to him than the statutory version. In the Staples definition, a machinegun was only "automatic" if the trigger was fully depressed and the gun continued to fire. So a slamfire or runaway due to faulty parts would not be considered automatic. Under federal statute though, if the gun fires more than one shot when you pull the trigger, it is a machinegun.

GOA wants to kill the federal statute definition; because if correct, it opens up a potential to argue that a doubling or malfunctioning semi-auto is also a machinegun. This would be bad for all of us; but a decision against Staples doesn't make a malfunctioning rifle illegal - it just puts us one step closer to that argument. On the other hand, the Supreme Court doesn't write legislation and isn't supposed to - I don't see how GOA can win on this one even with a conservative court (which we don't have). The law needs to be changed at the statutory level.

On a side issue, GOA is also annoyed that the initial test of the rifle by ATF showed it was not a machinegun. Based on the description of the results (malfunction - hammer follow), I am guessing that the smaller trip surface of the AR15 bolt carrier allowed the M16 hammer to come back too quickly and the rifle didn't operate as a machinegun because the hammer hit the firing pin before the round was chambered. This is probably also why Olofson had noted frequent problems when the rifle did burst-fire. However GOA doesn't argue that it changed the results of the trial and the main issue seems to be demanding the ATF standardize testing procedures and make those standards public knowledge - two things I can definitely get behind although GOA has done no more than mention it as an aside in this amicus brief.

So, short version - Olofson is basically Miller. He isn't my pal and I don't want him over for dinner; but he does have some important issues in his case that affect RKBA for all of us.
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Old February 4, 2009, 06:29 PM   #21
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He is clearly an anti government zealot and blight on the reputation of gun owners.

I am a Soldier and it saddens me that he was a Soldier. The Army has no place for people like him. I am surprised his shenanigans, including a convictin for illegally carrying a weapon, hacking a government server, and recruiting members of his unit for his extremist group, were tolerated for so long. This is just an example of someone falling through the cracks of the system. Thankfully he no longer serves in the Army. I don't know the final characterization of his current discharge. When a service member is separated for misconduct AR 135-178 requires that the discharge be characterized as under other than honorable unless a Soldier's record is so meritorious that such a discharge would not be appropriate. His record deserves no such consideration.

As wildalaska put it, don't be blinded by the gunwoobie. This guy was not a law abiding responsible gun owner and he does not eserve our support.

I am sure there are cases where the government doesn't do right in a criminal prosecution but this is not one of those cases.
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Old February 4, 2009, 06:34 PM   #22
Bartholomew Roberts
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This guy was not a law abiding responsible gun owner and he does not eserve our support.
No, he does not; but unfortunately the answers to his questions/problems are things that will affect law-abiding, responsible gunowners just as much as anti-government radicals.

Unfortunately for us, a lot of gun rights issues are decided by people who we all agree shouldn't have firearms. The problem is when the rule is drawn so broadly that it can easily be used to deny rights to those formerly law-abiding citizens as well.
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Old February 4, 2009, 06:41 PM   #23
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I am sure there are cases where the government doesn't do right in a criminal prosecution but this is not one of those cases.
Actually, there may very well have been a Brady violation here, but iirc, a Brady violation qua Brady violation is still evaluated on it's effect on the outcome.

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Old February 4, 2009, 06:49 PM   #24
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Unfortunately for us, a lot of gun rights issues are decided by people who we all agree shouldn't have firearms. The problem is when the rule is drawn so broadly that it can easily be used to deny rights to those formerly law-abiding citizens as well.
Well stated, and I suspect that's GOA's consideration, as well.
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Old February 4, 2009, 06:56 PM   #25
Wildalaska
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Well stated, and I suspect that's GOA's consideration, as well.
Balderdash. Do you guys really think that the BATFE has nothing better to do than manufacture a case against Joe Sixpack....read that sentencing brief again. This guy was bad paper and got caught on the radar. Its far easier for the government to investigate someone bad than make up something against someone good.

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