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Old February 4, 2009, 06:57 PM   #26
vranasaurus
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The definition of a machine gun should not be an issue here because the weapon did not malfunction causing it to fire automatically. The weapon in question was clearly modified with parts from an M16 and that is what caused it to fire automatically.


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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.
I believe the defense would have to show that the withheld evidence would have changed the outcome of the case. The appeals court will determine this issue. But unless the letter stated that all of the parts in the rifle were made that way at the factory I don't see how this would be a valid claim. I don't know any AR 15s that come stock with a 3 position selector switch.
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Old February 4, 2009, 07:02 PM   #27
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I don't know any AR 15s that come stock with a 3 position selector switch.
I dont beleive any major manufacturer has even put out ARs with m16 parts (I could be wrong)...

If Olofson wanted to back up his claim, why didnt he subpoenae Oly Arms....even assuming it was relevant.

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Old February 4, 2009, 07:07 PM   #28
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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.

Exactly!

The reason this case was prosecuted is that he belongs to an extremist organization and he modified an AR15 to fire automatically.Th
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Old February 4, 2009, 07:11 PM   #29
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I dont beleive any major manufacturer has even put out ARs with m16 parts (I could be wrong)...
I thought a few used an M16 bolt carrier? I could be wrong. But most don't use any you are correct. Most avoid it because there is no need.

And you are correct Olofson could have subpeonaed Olympic Arms. I suspect he didn't because the testimony that would have been presented would not have supported his case.
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Old February 4, 2009, 08:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vranasaurus
The definition of a machine gun should not be an issue here because the weapon did not malfunction causing it to fire automatically. The weapon in question was clearly modified with parts from an M16 and that is what caused it to fire automatically.
My take based on the limited information from the briefs and affidavits: the weapon was essentially slamfiring (due to the M16 parts), since the AR design will not allow the firing pin to protrude until the bolt is fully locked, the result was either automatic fire or a stoppage if the weapon couldn't chamber the round fast enough.

The definition of machinegun is at issue because the Staples definition excludes weapons that fire automatically due to slamfires, cooking off, etc. (regardless of whether that is due to wear, excess heat or deliberate malfeasance). The statutory definition says that if a single pull of the trigger results in multiple rounds, that is a machinegun. You can see where that interpretation of the law might be problematic for law-abiding, responsible gun owners who have a cook-off, a slamfire, a rifle that doubles, etc.

As for "clearly modified", the problem is that isn't so clear.

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Originally Posted by WildAlaska
I dont beleive any major manufacturer has even put out ARs with m16 parts (I could be wrong)...
Actually, I used to build ARs in college for a friend who was a SOT and FFL in the early 1990s. We built using Oly and Bushmaster lowers on Nesard part kits and regularly received parts kits from Nesard that included M16 bolt carriers, M16 hammer, and M16 triggers. During the late 1980s - early 1990s time frame, it wasn't unusual for AR manufacturers to use M16 fire control parts to some degree - which is exactly why the ATF put out several letters on that particular issue.

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If Olofson wanted to back up his claim, why didnt he subpoenae Oly Arms....even assuming it was relevant.
I couldn't begin to speculate. Olofson was represented by a Federal public defender according to the GOA brief, so that may have played a part in the decision. Regardless, it doesn't really matter to me whether Olofson could have obtained the evidence direct from Oly. The real issue here is that the ATF acknowledged there was correspondence between Olympic and ATF regarding this rifle; but then refused to turn it over. Maybe it was exculpatory, maybe it was not; but I am not real comfortable with the prosecutor being the person who gets to decide that. I would have liked to see the trial judge exercise a little more skepticism here.

The fact that Olofson was an anti-government wackjob is why I think the judge gave the prosecutor a lot of running room; but anti-government wackjobs have the same rights as us law-abiding, responsible gun owners. If they don't get their rights, then we shouldn't be surprised when we don't get ours in a similar situation.

Personally, I think Olofson is going to jail regardless of how his appeal plays out. Unless GOA talks the Court of Appeals into using the Staples definition (unlikely in my view), none of those items are likely to change the outcome of the case - but it will establish protections for the rest of us.
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Old February 4, 2009, 08:42 PM   #31
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You can see where that interpretation of the law might be problematic for law-abiding, responsible gun owners who have a cook-off, a slamfire, a rifle that doubles, etc.
Balderdash. A US atty worth his salt wouldnt prosecute a cookoff absent more

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Actually, I used to build ARs in college for a friend who was a SOT and FFL in the early 1990s. We built using Oly and Bushmaster lowers on Nesard part kits and regularly received parts kits from Nesard that included M16 bolt carriers, M16 hammer, and M16 triggers.
I rest my case......that was YOUR build using parts kits from a junk supplier. Factory guns don't use M16 parts.

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Maybe it was exculpatory, maybe it was not; but I am not real comfortable with the prosecutor being the person who gets to decide that.
Have you read the US Attorney's manual recently? It is their duty to turn over brady material. Their failure to do so and get caught at it is the worst thing that can happen to an AUSA, especially when the Appeals Court looks at it.

Then rest of your analysis is pure reaching...forget about the gunwoobie and look at it from a legal point of view

In point of fact, innocent folks dont get picked on very often, if at all...the Gov't has real baddies to chase

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Old February 4, 2009, 08:50 PM   #32
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Some builders will use F/A bolt carriers, usually as an option. However, the bolt carrier itself really isn't a part that the ATF is concerned with; they are far more concerned about the parts of the fire control group (trigger, hammer, disconnector, selector, and auto sear if present).

Makers have gotten far more stringent about selling F/A fire control parts, but will sell a F/A bolt carrier without batting an eye.
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Old February 4, 2009, 09:07 PM   #33
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Balderdash. A US atty worth his salt wouldnt prosecute a cookoff absent more.
Well, I'm glad that you have that level of faith in our Government, Ken. Personally, I would prefer to just write the law so that it didn't define obvious mechanical malfunctions as machineguns. That solution works whether the U.S. Attorney is worth his salt or not and I think GOA is pursuing a worthwhile goal in working towards that (although the path they have taken strikes me as ineffective and unlikely to succeed).

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I rest my case......that was YOUR build using parts kits from a junk supplier. Factory guns don't use M16 parts.
Clearly you haven't been in court in a long, long time if you are willing to rest your case on that. What is the logic there in any case? Because an FFL used parts kits from a junk supplier to build AR15s, it is therefore impossible that any factory manufacturer of that era used M16 parts in AR15s? Perhaps you could connect those dots for me since it seems you skipped a few steps on the way to resting your case.

In any case, my point was that this was an FFL. Does your average gunowner know or care whether it came from the factory like that or was modified by the FFL? Is there any significant difference to them and is that relevant to whether they "knowingly transferred a machinegun." Further, if the Oly/ATF letter isn't exculpatory but confirms what the prosecution already knows, why not share it?

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Have you read the US Attorney's manual recently? It is their duty to turn over brady material. Their failure to do so and get caught at it is the worst thing that can happen to an AUSA, especially when the Appeals Court looks at it.
And yet it still happens.

Not to mention that more than one case has seen a U. S. Attorney withhold information helpful to the defense at trial and then later argue on appeal that the information did not reach the standard of exculpatory evidence required by Brady.

Tell me, what valid reason could the prosecutor have to not want to share this letter? Under what circumstance should he not have to produce it?

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In point of fact, innocent folks dont get picked on very often, if at all...the Gov't has real baddies to chase
I'm sure that the fact that innocent folks only occasionally go to jail due to our desire to punish gunwoobies is a great comfort to everyone except those innocent folks.
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Old February 4, 2009, 09:13 PM   #34
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Do some people never tire of spouting off about things they have no clue about? Do they never tire of repeating tired old innuendo when the facts are easily available to them? Do people never tire of being the worn-out old stereotype of the hysterical gun owner that cries "conspiracy" every time some jerk does something illegal and gets caught?

The gun DID NOT malfunction and cause it to fire multiple rounds. The gun HAD BEEN ILLEGALLY ALTERED for just that task. The man that altered it even informed the person borrowing it of this fact and warned him against using that setting.

Give it a rest already and spend your time defending someone that is not a criminal for once.

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Old February 4, 2009, 09:18 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Playboypenguin
Give it a rest already and spend your time defending someone that is not a criminal
The more I read this thread the more I think this guy is a bad horse to pick. I think he did wrong and got caught. I'm not sure I could defend his actions.
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Old February 4, 2009, 09:27 PM   #36
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And yet it still happens.
yep. you have given us two state cases (not apllicable here) and two cases where the Gubmint got caught.....and the error was corrected.

I am sure you know about US vs. Ted Stevens which is still pending.

The District Judges hate to be reversed. They are extermely cognizant of Brady. I would defer to the expertise of the trial judge here. You are now grasping at the same straws as Olafoson's layers.

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it is therefore impossible that any factory manufacturer of that era used M16 parts in AR15s?
We are talking about major manufactures and in particular, Oly. Yes.

Let me ask you this. GunGuy buys an AR from FFL Joe. GunGuy shoots it and it runs full auto. If he goes right to the BATF and says, hey dudes, I bought this from FFL Joe and it runs full auto, you think Gunguy is getting indicted?

No.

Now the Feds go to FFL Joe and say, hey you sold this gun to Gunguy and it went full auto, whats the scoop. FFL Joe says, hey wait look at my books, I bought this from Militia Patriot AR Inc, came in yesterday and then sold it to Gun Guy...you think they are gonna screw with FFL Joe?

Not. They want the real big fish...

Now lets change the facts a bit. They go to FFL Joe and he has bins of M16 parts, conversion manuals, has a prior record, has militia pamphlets on the walls and emails talking about ZOG and suchlike and when they ask him about it he starts singing various contradictory tunes.....


Guess what: US vs Olafson.

Criminal investigation is not a TV show. it is a careful process where every i must be dotted and t must be crossed or some slimy defense lawyer gets the baddie off. And for you, by the way, to imply that federal Public defenders are incompetant is beyond beleif...try to get a job as one...and they have forgotten more about Federal criminal cases after one year on the job than you or I will ever know.

Olafson is not a martyr to the evil minions of the JBT ZOGites. Based on whats adduced so far, he is a criminal. I will say no more till the Circuit renders it's decision. You guys can continue the ifwhenmaybebuts as long as you want

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Old February 4, 2009, 09:40 PM   #37
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My take based on the limited information from the briefs and affidavits: the weapon was essentially slamfiring (due to the M16 parts), since the AR design will not allow the firing pin to protrude until the bolt is fully locked, the result was either automatic fire or a stoppage if the weapon couldn't chamber the round fast enough.

The definition of machinegun is at issue because the Staples definition excludes weapons that fire automatically due to slamfires, cooking off, etc. (regardless of whether that is due to wear, excess heat or deliberate malfeasance). The statutory definition says that if a single pull of the trigger results in multiple rounds, that is a machinegun. You can see where that interpretation of the law might be problematic for law-abiding, responsible gun owners who have a cook-off, a slamfire, a rifle that doubles, etc.
The weapon was modified. The modifications caused the weapon to fire automatically. Even if it fired automatically by slam fire it was modified to do so and that is the issue. Had the rifle been left in it's factory configuration would it have done this? Probably not. And if it had done this in a factory configuration would it have been prosecuted? Only if the owner failed to report it or fix the problem, the ATF would likely contact olympic arms and figure out if they are selling machine guns.

If Olofson prevails all a person would have to do is modify a weapon so that it fires automatically by "malfunction" meaning its not a machine gun.

To me there is a difference between a malfunction and modifications that intended to cause something.
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Old February 4, 2009, 10:55 PM   #38
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Balderdash. Do you guys really think that the BATFE has nothing better to do than manufacture a case against Joe Sixpack
I think that if you look at the history of the BATFE, you'll answer your own questions with respect to the way they've treated good decent law abiding citizens in the past--and ruined their lives.

That hasn't happened for a while, as far as I know, and when it did, it involved relatively few agents. But it happened none the less.


However, under the new administration, who, with a straight face, could say it can't start happening again. Eric Holder makes Janet Reno look like Shirley Temple.
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Old February 4, 2009, 11:17 PM   #39
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I think that if you look at the history of the BATFE, you'll answer your own questions with respect to the way they've treated good decent law abiding citizens in the past--and ruined their lives.
Yeah, yeah I know, Koresh, Vicki Weaver blah blah blah:barf:

Read my post again. manufacture. decent. law abiding.

I'll agree with you that the ATF and the government shouldnt be trusted because of isolated incidents when you agree gun owners shouldnt be trusted due to isloated incidents.

Same logic.

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Old February 4, 2009, 11:26 PM   #40
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Thanks everyone for your responses to my questions... That's kinda what I thought.

The problem I have been having is self-caused. I migrated from version 9.3 of Suse linux to version 11.0 (last Sept), and in the process some of my PDF's were lost. Specifically, the PDFs relating to the Olofson case. So while I thought I new what was what, I no longer had the data or urls to the data to back up my thinking (don't we all love upgrades?).

Now, after reading the very educational (and for me, entertaining) posts after my questions, I can safely say (again), That Olofson is a crook and that he knew he was a crook.

However, I am in agreement that the statutory definition is at odds with Staples. This is a case where case law should prevail over the strict statutory reading.
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Old February 4, 2009, 11:58 PM   #41
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However, I am in agreement that the statutory definition is at odds with Staples. This is a case where case law should prevail over the strict statutory reading.
You mean:

"Appellant claims that the lower Court erred in failing to charge that a malfunctioning firearm is not a machine gun as set forth in US vs Staples. We need not reach this issue, since the evidence that the defendant knowingly modified the firearm was overwhelming"

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Old February 5, 2009, 12:47 AM   #42
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember a competative shooter who was charged with owning an unregistered machinegun because his FAL would fire more than one shot with each pull of the trigger. When it was later shown that this was due to a worn/broken part rather than intentional modification and also shown that the ATF officer in question had to do a lot of 'fiddling' with the rifle to get the offensive effect, the shooter was either acquited or the charges were dropped. If I'm remembering right, wouldn't this set a precident that the gov't would have to prove that the weapon had been knowingly modified into an unregistered machinegun?
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Old February 5, 2009, 01:58 AM   #43
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Yeah, yeah I know, Koresh, Vicki Weaver blah blah blah
Your habit of addressing people you disagree with as though they were intellectually inferior doesn't compliment you--or anyone, for the matter.

There are people who can't be trusted with guns and Federal agencies have, in the past, abused the rights of citizens in some instances. That doesn't seem like an equal equation to me.

We both agree they have more important things to worry about than stacking the deck against citizens. The odds of it staying that way don't improve under the current administration.
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Old February 5, 2009, 02:32 AM   #44
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There are people who can't be trusted with guns and Federal agencies have, in the past, abused the rights of citizens in some instances. That doesn't seem like an equal equation to me.
really???...well there are more gun crimes committed than rogue Feds running around violating the rights of innocent Patriots. What does your logic of malum in uno, malum in omnibus tell us then?

As to the rest, you can bicker with yourself

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Old February 5, 2009, 02:36 AM   #45
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I read through a VERY long thread on Arfcom in which the defendant posted extensively.

The gist of his planned defense was to claim that the federal government had no jurisdiction in the case. It seems that he had little or no interest in trying to prove that the gun was actually legal...

I lost interest in the case after that.
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Old February 5, 2009, 04:59 AM   #46
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well there are more gun crimes committed than rogue Feds running around violating the rights of innocent Patriots. What does your logic of malum in uno, malum in omnibus tell us then?
Tells me that there are many times more criminals than Federal agents, and puts the "rogue" agent in an even worse light, since it shouldn't happen at all.

Looks like the Federal LE community feels the same way, since Federal LE has earned the respect, once again, of most of us--including me.


A case like this can be precedent setting, and, as some have already pointed out, certain strategies have been challenged by the defense as being irrellevent to the case and could, if unchallenged, be used against the rest of us by a less than gun-friendly administration---just in case we get one some day.

You take care, Wildalaska. Be careful of that midnight sun stroke.
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Old February 5, 2009, 09:11 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Wildalaska
yep. you have given us two state cases (not apllicable here) and two cases where the Gubmint got caught.....and the error was corrected.
The links I gave were to three separate websites. The second link gives over 50 cases where cases were remanded or evidentiary hearings ordered on Brady claims. Now even I didn't read every one of the more than 50 short-case summaries on that site, so I don't expect you to either; but I think you may be understating my argument just a bit.

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Olafson is not a martyr to the evil minions of the JBT ZOGites. Based on whats adduced so far, he is a criminal.
And I don't believe I have ever said differently in this thread or any other thread on the subject. My concern is that if it is so clear that Olofson is guilty, then why not give him what he asks for in regard to the ATF/Olympic letter and allowing his expert to be present during the testimony of the prosecution expert (as the prosecution agreed to)?

My concern with your argument Ken, is that you seem to feel it is OK to deny Olofson these things because he is a bad guy and plainly guilty and that when a good guy comes up, it will be so obvious he is a good guy that there is no way he will get charged - and if he does get charged, he will get all these things that Olofson didn't because he isn't a "gunwoobie" (whatever that might be).

Now, let me give you a nice real life example. One of the rifles we built as college students/FFLs was a $1500 "custom" Varminting AR. This was before the Internet when you could have learned that giving $1500 to two college students to build an AR from $500 of Nesard parts was probably not going to end well. We set up the AR and polished that trigger nice and bright. A little later, the guy swaps the varminting upper with a 16" carbine upper (complete with semi-auto carrier) and the thing starts firing in bursts. Unlike Olofson, he was unhappy with this and brought it back to us in a state of much disgust and we fixed the problem by replacing the trigger group with AR15 parts (this is when we first learned there was even a difference between AR15 and M16 parts).

However, let's suppose the guy keeps it in his safe for a few years, sells it in a private sale and ten years later (after my buddy the FFL was long out of business despite our two years of business expertise) somebody else puts a 16" upper with semi-auto bolt carrier on it and the rifle begins to malfunction. The rifle has an M16 hammer and trigger in it. Suppose the guy decides to take it to a gunsmith to get it fixed; but he procrastinates and before he takes it to the gunsmith, his ex-wife tips off the ATF to gain the upper hand in a child-custody squabble. This certainly isn't Olofson; but you can bet that the law established by Olofson is going to have a big effect on our hypothetical gun owner.

I am not as confident as you are that the AUSA is going to be able to distinguish the differences in these two cases when deciding whether to file charges. I would like to see our hypothetical gun owner be able to have the government produce evidence that is helpful to his case. I'd also like to see him have his expert in the room as well. I think Olofson is important because it is a perfect case where the Government can establish these protections as precedent and still be relatively confident that the bad guy is not going to walk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antipitas
However, I am in agreement that the statutory definition is at odds with Staples. This is a case where case law should prevail over the strict statutory reading.
I am in agreement that the statutory definition needs to change. I don't know that Olofson is the way to do that though. I am concerned about the implications of encouraging nine unelected, life-appointed Justices to rewrite specific statutes written by 535 elected representatives absent some clear conflict with our Constitution. Even though I think the statutory definition is a bad one, I am concerned about the implications of this for checks and balances and I am also concerned that applying Staples directly will result in people trying to build slamfire machineguns to put one over on the man. Now normally, I am all for the "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes" school of Darwinism; but the problem is that the person playing the stupid game rarely seems to be the one to win the prize. It is always some friend or acquaintance who didn't even know what was going on who gets the unlucky lotto ticket.

Short summary for those who can't be bothered to read anything longer than five lines (*cough* Playboy Penguin *cough*) before typing a response that completely misses the points they skipped over in their haste to be heard:

1. Yes, Olofson is likely guilty. I have never seen any manufacturer ship with an M16 safety and disconnector.
2. Regardless of his guilt, he should still get to demand the letter between ATF and Olympic concerning his case because if he doesn't get that privilege, we will not either.
3. Regardless of his guilt, he should still get to have his expert witness present during the government's expert witness testimony for the same reason.
4. The current statutory definition of machineguns has a big gray area when it comes to malfunctioning semi-automatic firearms. The Staples definition resolves that problem; but creates a new one with regards to the creatively stupid.
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Old February 5, 2009, 11:02 AM   #48
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Bart, I think your four point summary pretty well sums it up. At the same time, there's a lesson in there for us- if you have a firearm that has worn/broken parts and is doubling, get it fixed immediately!!! Sure, I am not convinced that the ATF is hiding behind a bush waiting to jump out and ensnare otherwise perfectly law abiding people, but if they have some reason to want some leverage over you (Koresh, Weaver), they WILL use it. I can't think of any good reason to not take immediate steps to fix a sick gun. If nothing else, tear it down and trash the bad parts (if for some reason you can't get it fixed pronto). Continuing to shoot such a malfunctioning firearm and seeming to take joy in that status is likely to be used against you.
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Old February 5, 2009, 01:23 PM   #49
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My concern is that if it is so clear that Olofson is guilty, then why not give him what he asks for in regard to the ATF/Olympic letter and allowing his expert to be present during the testimony of the prosecution expert (as the prosecution agreed to)?
Becasue the letter wasnt exculpatory and Olafson is making a straw issue out of it. There are many reasons why the AUSA did not want to turn over the letter, heres one: The issue of safety of the person who wrote the letter in light of Olafson's background as an anti government zealot.

Olafson COULD HAVE subpoenaed Oly. He didnt. I suspect that was because they wouldnt have supported his allegation.

As to the expert, I suspect the same issue as I raised above.

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Old February 5, 2009, 01:25 PM   #50
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However, let's suppose the guy keeps it in his safe for a few years, sells it in a private sale and ten years later (after my buddy the FFL was long out of business despite our two years of business expertise) somebody else puts a 16" upper with semi-auto bolt carrier on it and the rifle begins to malfunction. The rifle has an M16 hammer and trigger in it. Suppose the guy decides to take it to a gunsmith to get it fixed; but he procrastinates and before he takes it to the gunsmith, his ex-wife tips off the ATF to gain the upper hand in a child-custody squabble. This certainly isn't Olofson; but you can bet that the law established by Olofson is going to have a big effect on our hypothetical gun owner.
As well it should. A malfunctioning firearm that is fixed right away is a malfunctioning firearm. One that is *gigglegiggle* kept for a few years after "malfunction" raises an inference of an attempt to circumvent the law.

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