Snowflakes in Hell has a detailed post on US v. Olofson, complete with links to major documents in the case. It appears a good deal more complicated than had seemed. Apparently the fellow to whom Olofson had loaned the AR-15 was told not to put the selector switch in a third position. I was wondering how the prosecution had met the requirement that the defendant be shown to have known a full auto was full auto . I suspect this was it.
I have been wondering about that since I first heard about the case.
Posted by: Jim W at May 20, 2008 04:16 PM
still, the fact that you have one brake pedal or another does not give your car an anti-lock braking system. it was certainly stupid/proud of olofson not to just fix the trigger select or otherwise ensure the transaction could be made legal, but that can't possibly make a "machine gun" out of a broken AR.
they shouldn't even be allowed to use the term "machine gun" towards any consequence. there are exactly four classes of rifle and they're all mutually exclusive: assault/automatic, semi-automatic, bolt-action, and broken.
failing this distinction, the BATFE might as well advise our military to arm up with AR-15s, sans auto sear. it shoots multiple shots to one trigger pull, doesn't it? good enough.
Posted by: jon at May 20, 2008 04:55 PM
This case has been flogged to death on subguns.com and ar15.com. The facts are, to say the least, in dispute. The issue of what, if any, M16 parts were in the fire control group of this particular firearm, and who, if anyone, put them in there, is embroiled in a he said/he said between Olafson and the guy who borrowed the gun.
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at May 20, 2008 05:11 PM
Can you imagine the reasonable doubt if this guy had just hired a decent attorney in the first place? We might never have even heard of this case.
Posted by: Jim W at May 20, 2008 06:56 PM
"The issue of what, if any, M16 parts were in the fire control group of this particular firearm, and who, if anyone, put them in there, is embroiled in a he said/he said between Olofson and the guy who borrowed the gun."
And we KNOW that the ATFU would never lie or put anyone up to it on the stand...they'd never, say, threaten the guy with doing the time himself if he didn't say Olofson was the guilty party. Noooo, not that most prestigious of agencies. Not the guys who modify guns into machine guns to get a conviction.
Excuse me, santa claus is on the phone and the easter bunny's knocking on the door.
Posted by: Tom at May 20, 2008 07:38 PM
&1 for tom.
Posted by: straightarrow at May 20, 2008 09:37 PM
I deleted a long rant that I might turn into a post later when I can polish it up. But the gist is that there's an awful lot of bad info going around on this now -- reminds of the Cavalry Arms raid.
Please, everyone, take what you read on the boards and blogs with at least a grain of salt.
That said, a few things I conclude, based on what I've read (and keep the above in mind):
The M16 parts specified are insufficient to create a MG. Installation of such is probably ill-advised, but not illegal -- at least until this decision. This was not a "partially converted" firearm. *
Therefore, Olofson could not have known he had a MG, since it wasn't the case that he did.
Since it isn't a MG, there wasn't an illegal transfer. (And legally, how do you distinguish between a transfer and a loan? Did the recipient of this loan obtain ownership? I think not.)
* This is the biggie. Is it a MG only if it fires more than one round per trigger pull by design and intent (of the original design or modification), or also as a result of a malfunction? If it's possible (and we now know that it is) for NFA to be read as meaning the latter, then NFA needs to be changed to clarify that a malfunction doesn't change a previously non-covered firearm into an NFA firearm. Perhaps an amendment to HR 4900 to that effect would be a way to accomplish that.
Posted by: jed at May 20, 2008 11:41 PM
Excuse me Jed, I am going to say this as politely as I can. HORSESHIT! There is enough law to have taken care of this properly. The BATFE is just another criminal gang.
What is it criminals do? They break the law! Yeah, no shit, they break the law. No guidelines by Congress are going to change the gangbangers at BATFE. Prison time might modify their outlook. It won't change their behavior, just their allegiance. Instead of being BATFuckyou's they may be Bloods or Crips or Cosa Nostra or MS 13, or any number of other criminal gangs, but what they won't do is quit being members of a criminal gang. They like it, and it pays well. As long as they have cover the risk is small. It is time to increase their risk.
I really like the idea of prison time for them, but I could be talked into concrete boots and everglades, some assembly required, providing of course that it was done in the same legal manner in which they operate.
Posted by: straightarrow at May 21, 2008 01:39 AM
I asked elsewhere about the original design of the AR15/M16 and have been told it was a select fire automatic from the outset. If this is the case, then I have to assume the logic is the weapon according to the law was always an automatic as long as it COULD fire more then one round per pull. A malfunction and going by the above puts any military rifle that was designed as a machine gun one malfunction away from putting the owner in prison. M1A, AK, God knows how many are on the list. Somewhere there was discussion of malfunctions obviously being exempt, but you can see that following the letter of the law only applies in some areas, and following the spirit in some cases. Knowing which one you're dealing with is the hard part.
As for transfer, isn't it something that essentially boils down to "leaving the owners immediate possession" in which case loaning it out or letting someone borrow it would be transfer. Otherwise everyone at knob creek who rents them out on the line would be guilty of that.
Posted by: Tom at May 21, 2008 01:41 AM
Look Tom, just go over to the two cited websites and read the discussions. There is plenty of lying going around in this case, and not all of it is coming from the BATFE.
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at May 21, 2008 05:10 AM
Jed - Actually the ATF considers owning M16 fire control group parts and owning an AR15 to be possession of a MG, they don't have to be installed.
Posted by: ParatrooperJJ at May 21, 2008 07:07 AM
'And we KNOW that the ATFU ... to get a conviction.'
Prove that in a court of law and it will make front page news.
'There is enough law to have taken care of this properly. '
Yeah, if you have a real lawyer.
'There is plenty of lying going around in this case, and not all of it is coming from the BATFE.'
What he said.
Posted by: SayUncle at May 21, 2008 09:36 AM
Pretty damn hard to prove any misconduct on the part of government agencies when the judge is part of the railroading.
Posted by: straightarrow at May 21, 2008 05:43 PM