Thursday, July 03, 2008

David Olofson's off to jail, and the sun's shining brightly on GOA's lies.

For months now, we in the shooting community have been bombarded with Gun Owners of America propaganda about a guy in Wisconsin named David Olofson who allegedly wound up in federal court because an AR-15 rifle that he loaned to someone "malfunctioned" and fired three rounds before jamming. The story's been bouncing all over the internet, usually on websites dominated by faux patriots and Walter Mitty warriors--the teens and fat guys who can't hack the military but who nonetheless sit around telling each other how they'll rise up and kill lots of police officers and federal BATFE agents "when the day comes". They can be found in large numbers on websites with names like, Uzitalk, Falfiles, and a few others. Frankly, it's because of oxygen-wasters like them that I don't subscribe to any of those sites despite the fact that there is sometimes useful information posted to them by other, better people.

The story also appears to stem from Gun Owners of America, and GOA is renowned as the nation's largest fake gun group. It's a scam that basically tricks well-intentioned gun owners into giving large chunks of their money to GOA by exaggerating or just plain making up stories of government abuse of gun owners, and the money goes for little other than supporting the lifestyle of owner Larry Pratt and his kin, many of whom are also on GOA's payroll. The Pratts do nothing more than spam out e-mails and faxes about how the sky is about to fall on gun owners and then they ask for money, claiming that they can stop it. In reality, most of what they spew is pure baloney and any bad legislation that actually exists tends to be not as bad as the Pratts claim and/or stopped by the NRA and other legitimate state and local gun groups. I know better than to believe anything that GOA puts out, and when the rest of the gun owners wake up and start giving their money to the legitimate pro-gun causes instead of the Pratts, then it'll be a good day for our side.

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.

So why was Olofson charged and convicted at trial when I wasn't? Well much of the reason for that can be found in this affidavit (below) that was used part and parcel of the case against Olofson. Clearly if the facts sworn to in this document are true--and there's no reason to assume otherwise, then Olofson clearly modified that rifle to fire multiple shots with each pull of the trigger, and that fact was known by the person that he loaned the rifle to as well. In fact that person--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. It's pretty clear that despite GOA's lies about a malfunction to the contrary, Olofson actually manufactured a machine gun and gave it to Kiernicki. And the rifle was subsequently tested by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms examiners and repeatedly fired in automatic mode--sixty rounds' worth without malfunction.

The text is small, but if you click on it, it will get larger.

For what it's worth, I believe the BATF experts, and the investigating officers, both local and federal. In light of what they've testified to, the jury verdict in this case makes sense, as does the judge's sentence: 30 months in federal prison for Olofson, beginning today.

Now that I believe the story, I'll post about about it. I'm sure however that the truth coming out at last won't stop GOA, aka the Pratt rent and grocery fund, from continuing to spam out lies about this case and attempting to raise still more money from people who don't know the whole story. And I'll caution you all to be careful whose cause you choose to support, because criminals like Olofson and scammers like the Pratts give all of us decent gun owners a bad name and ultimately set back our efforts to vanquish the foes fighting to disarm us all.

Don't buy the hype, folks. Read the affidavit.


  1. A good read. There's always more to the story.

  2. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Actually, you failed to mention that initially, the rifle was pronounced by ATF not to be a machine gun but an "ordinary rifle." It was not until agent Keeku told the testing lab to use soft-primered ammunition that they were able to get it to fire automatically, with a high failure rate. I'm glad you put so much trust in the ATF.

    They're "a valuable crime fighting agency" right?

  3. Oh please. Stop drinking the GOA kool-aid, would you? They used commercial ammunition such as is regularly available in any gun shop. It's not like they deliberately sought "soft-primered ammo" to rig the test. But if I were to play along with your conspiracy theory, where would I get "soft-primered ammo"? Does it say on the box somewhere that it's made specifically to make illegally-modified rifles shoot like machine guns?
    That's the problem with the anti-government kook version of this tale--it just doesn't make sense. Not bits of it, and not the whole thing, and we'd have to buy all of the implausible bits together if we're going to trick ourselves into believing that the government is just out to get Olofson and/or the rest of us for no apparent reason.

    And if you read the affidavit, you'll see that they performed three tests, each involving twenty rounds, and the rifle functioned as a machine gun--without failing--in each test, for a total of sixty rounds fired. But even if there were a few failures, that just means that Olofson didn't do a very good job in his deliberate attempt to make a machine gun. But we know from his own statements that he knew it was modified to fire as an automatic rifle with the selector switch in the third position, so it doesn't matter if he sucked as a clandestine criminal gunsmith or not. He's in jail now for deliberately trying to break the law.

    And for the record, I don't buy the internet warrior line of thinking that says that everyone who works for BATFE is some sort of gun-hating patriot hunter. Actually the folks that I know there--several special agents and examiners--are gun owners, shooters, and damned fine Americans who only want to lock up criminals and support the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Your knee-jerk hatred of them makes me wonder what side of the good citizen/criminal line that you're on.

  4. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Mr. Olofson, a Drill Instructor in the National Guard, was asked by Robert Kiernicki to teach him how to shoot a firearm. Olofson did and from time to time would let Mr. Kiernicki borrow his oldest AR-15 , go to a public range and target practice. . . (O)n his third time at the range after 120 rounds down range the rifle sputtered three times and jammed. The Law enforcement on the range swept in... The rifle in question seized now by the ATF; It was sent to Firearm Technology Branch (FTB), the testing Arm of the BATFE. They examined and test fired the rifle; then declared it to be "just a rifle". You would think it would all be resolved at this point, this was merely the beginning. The Special Agent in Charge Jody Keeku asked FTB to re-test the firearm and this time use soft primered commercial ammunition.

    FTB has no standardized testing procedures, in fact it has no written procedures at all for testing firearms. They had no standard to stick to, and gleefully tried again. The results this time..."a Machinegun". ATF with a self admitted 50% error rate pursued an indictment and Mr. Olofson was charged with "Unlawful transfer of a machinegun". Not possession, not even Robert Kiernicki was charged with possession (who actually possessed the rifle), though the ATF paid Mr. Kiernicki "an undisclosed amount of money" to testify against Mr. Olofson at trial.

    At the same time Mr. Olofson was being charged with "Unlawful Transfer" because the rifle malfunctioned and had a M-16 trigger, disconnector, and hammer; calling it an AR-15 with M-16 trigger parts (not the parts that make a machinegun). The ATF removed "a machinegun" from the NFRTR or NFA registry, claiming it was an AR-15 with M-16 parts, therefore NOT "a machinegun". I have the documents, I can prove this. The court was never shown this information. When Mr. Olofson's Attorneys requested the court compel the ATF to provide this and other documents that proved his innocence to the court. The ATF Chief Counsel's Office told the court the documents contained tax information (federal excise tax stamp for $200) and the court was prohibited from seeing them. All documents were kept secret from the Honorable Judge Clevert and the rest of the court. Even the letter from the ATF to the manufacturer of Mr. Olofson's rifle from 1986, which mandated a "safety recall" due to the rifle going "full auto" if it malfunctioned. ATF Chief Counsel told AUSA Haanstad, who then told the court "The Court will have take our word, that the documents in question contain tax information and contain no exculpatory evidence".

    It gets even worse... AUSA Haanstad claimed the law does not exempt a malfunction. He claims that it states "any weapon that shoots more than once without manual reloading, per function of the trigger is a machinegun". To clarify when I was on the stand, I asked him "Are you saying if I take my Great Granddaddy's double barrel out and I pull one trigger and both barrels go off, its a machinegun?". He went back to the law (United States Code, Section 5845 (b)), and claims "any weapon that shoots..."

  5. Wow. All that typing (or, as I suspect, cut-pasting) and you haven't said a thing that adds any more to Olofson's case.

    First, stop telling us that he was a National Guard Drill Instructor, as if that somehow gives him credibility. Fact is, he has prior gun-related misdemeanor convictions and a long history of being a deadbeat and he's neither the saint nor the "career soldier" that you guys claim he is.
    His criminal and civil actuion record can be located here:;jsessionid=A264EA67DB0A835655D18E71128F8877.render2

    Now that aside, the facts in this case are clear--THIS RIFLE, owned and modified by David Olofson, was deliberately modified--by David Olofson--to fire automatically, and Olofson knew that it was illegal to do so but did it anyway.

    He needs to at least be a man and stand up for what he did instead of crying like a bitch and claiming that the rifle just malfunctioned.

    And all that crasp about NFA registries...none of that makes a difference either. It has no bearing on the only issue here--whether Olofson knowingly possessed a gun which would fire more than one round with a pull of the trigger, and the facts and Olofson's own statements indicated that he clearly did.

  6. Anonymous5:49 AM

    Yeah, and Herman Goering was a big practicioner of "shooting sports" too. So what? Lick the boot that oppresses you, if you wish, it is you who are selling the Kool Aid.

    Read the entire trial transcript and supporting documents as I have. It's available on the Net. Read Mrs. Olofson's affidavit of Ms. Keeku's thuggery in dealing with her and her children. Read Len Savage's account of how the government obstructed an independent examination of the rifle.

    And as far as your ad hominem attacks on GOA and Larry Pratt:

    I've known Larry Pratt for fifteen years and know him to be man of deep faith and iron principles. GOA has accomplished things here in Alabama, including fighting off the NRA's compromises, and haven't a penny to show for the effort. They did it because it needed doing.

    Which department of the ATF did you say your family worked for? Or are you just putting out the party line because they have you by the balls too?

  7. Mike,

    You were so busy being pointlessly angry and implying that I work for BATFE (It's not ATF--the agency has a five-letter acronym now) that you forgot to address the only issue here--that Olofson deliberately modified a rifle in a manner which was contrary to the laws of our Republic. The fact that his wife says that BATFE agents were rude to her as she tried to obstruct their execution of a search warrant doesn't make a bit of difference. How about actually discussing the illegal gun, or Olofson's statements and actions which indicate that he did it himself and knew it to be illegal?

    As for GOA and Pratt, yes they like to get in there and fight the NRA. It's much easier to fight the real good guys by claiming that they aren't good enough than it is to actually fight an enemy. That's no different than the anti-government kooks railing against our government and BATFE rather than doing something to help combat our country's actual enemies, be it the terrorists or the criminal element. That's why Pratt's still a rock star with you militia-fringe types even as the rest of America shrugs him off as an irrelevant huckster and fraud. But hey--keep handing him your money. God forbid that donations to GOA should drop. The Pratts might have to drop some of their premium cable channels if that happened. Some of them might even have to get jobs.

  8. Anonymous10:44 AM

    You simply don't know what you are talking about and would rather be an apologist for the federal thugs than do anything meaningful. If you were really sincere, you would be joining the rest of us gun owners in calling for the complete disbanding of this horrid "agency". This useless, unconstitutional "agency" has no place in a free country. You must be a Brady supporter. Disgusting.

    Even if we were to suspend belief here and take your version of the story as gospel, so what? So what if a free American has a selective fire rifle? This is exactly the type of weapon a man should have if he is to fulfill his obligation of defending his family, home and country. It is you who have fallen for the lies and disinformation of your federal masters and it would appear that you very much like the taste of worn shoe soles, because you have sold your soul to your God, the government. Take off the blinders, they really make you look stupid.

  9. Gosh, Henry...Could those "blinders" make me look any stupider (is that a word?) than your rant made you look?

    Bottom line: We're a nation built on laws. Thomas Jefferson himself has spoken at length on the obligation of every citizen to support this country and it's laws unless and until the people decide to change those laws via the ballot box, legislative participation, and/or the courts. But nowhere does he ever say that it's cool for a bunch of posers and faux Americans to just sit back and say "I don't like the law so I'm not going to obey it OR change it."

    You guys supporting Olofson need to man up, and if you think that he was right, make your own illegal machine gun, walk it into the nearest police station, and stand up in court like a true patriot ala Martin Luther King and argue your case.

    And FWIW, a simple review of my many gun-related posts on this site will show that I probably have more and better guns than you--all legal of course--so calling me a "Brady Supporter" may make you feel better but it only adds to your loss of credibility. I'm all about guns for law-abiding Americans. But I draw the line at scumbag criminals like Olofson, Randy Weaver, and the rest of that Tim-McVeigh-worshiping screwball fringe.

  10. Anonymous11:24 AM

    You know, you really keep digging yourself deeper and deeper with these shallow replies. You prove you have nothing but a superficial knowledge of history at best. Perhaps you will recall a certain USSC justice who said that any law that is repugnant to the Constitution is no law at all and the citizen can proceed on the basis that he has committed no crime.

    A nation of laws, please. So was Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Red China, among others. So you are telling everyone out there that as long as a law is passed, you will obey it? Everything Hitler did was legal under German law at the time, so you were living there at the time you would have gladly taken part in all of the atrocities they committed in the German people's name? Do you really want to pursue that argument?

    I believe Stalin had a term for people like you, useful idiots, and it fits in this case.

    "And FWIW, a simple review of my many gun-related posts on this site will show that I probably have more and better guns than you--all legal of course-. . ." What was that ridiculous comment? Are are you trying to make up for your inadequacies? How do you even pretend to know what other people have or do not have? For all you know, I could be very wealthy and own 100s of custom firearms that alone could be would be worth more than your entire family will ever earn.

    Randy Weaver? You are really proving you have no clue with that comment. Randy was entrapped by the federal thugs, 2 of his family members murdered, then he was acquitted of all charges, except the original too short a barrel charge they entrapped him on in the first place. The feds paid him over 3 million dollars to settle his wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit! The one who should still be in jail for murder one is that vile scum bag, Lon Horiuchi. Lumping Randy Weaver, his family and what happened to them in with Tim McVeigh proves you have a clear agenda. That agenda is the government is always right and can do no wrong.

  11. Gotcha, Henry... You think that you live in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia just because those mean old Founding Fathers of ours created a government that they expected everyone to live under and obey.

    As to your belief that you can disobey any law that's "repugnant to the Constitution", a belief that you've buttressed by your vague and most probably out-of-context reference to some Supreme Court Justice that you didn't even bother to name, the Courts ultimately get to decide what is and is not Constitutional, not Henry, or Tim McViegh, or any other individual according to his own interpretation of that document. That's why our nation's founders created that court and the lower courts. None of them ever said that Henry got to decide, did they?

    But if the laws keeping Henry from having a machine gun or smoking pot are repugnant and therefore invalid, please take me up on my challenge and walk into any federal building with a home-made machine gun while smoking a joint and then you can be a hero and show the whole country how your actions aren't illegal because the Constitution says that you can do those things.

    Well you know what, Henry? It doesn't say that and you know it, or else you'd be out there standing tall. What it says is that the government must exercise great care in enacting legislation for the common good when such legislation comes into conflict with the individual rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights, but that if the government can demonstrate a compelling interest in the regulation that they seek to enact, and if they can show that the regulation is as narrowly-tailored as possible to achieve that end, then it's generally permissible. The Founders of this country set out to create a government that would trump individual rights when necessary, not advocate anarchy. You might want to study up on it a bit.

    I'll give you a few hours to do that. I'm going shooting before it starts raining. I'll be back later.

  12. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Only an employee, or relative of an employee, or a paid apologist of the ATF would quibble about their acronym. Again, you did not read the entire court documents, or you would not come to the conclusion that you did. ATF symp covers you quite well. You "sportsmen" give me a pain in the ass. Like I said, Goering was a hunter, so what?

  13. I honestly don't know where I stand on the Olofson thing, because there are so many details in it that I haven't read. If the bulk of what I've seen on the blogs is true, then this guy got screwed. If what is on here is true, he belongs in jail.

    I do know one thing, though. Most of you commenting on here look like complete and total idiots.

    First, jumping to Nazi comparisons pretty much screams "ignore everything I say, because I'm incapable of forming a rational argument". Second, claiming that correcting you on the use of BATFE is proof of being associated with them is the most half-assed argument I've heard. That borders on claiming that aspirin causes headaches because most people that take it report having headaches.

    Here's a thought for you. Maybe the fact that you can't even get a little detail like the name of the BATFE correct suggests to Lagniappe that you are just as lazy with your knowledge of other details of the case.

  14. Generally speaking, I think both sides aren't passing the smell test in this case. The whole thing pretty much stinks. But I agree with you that it's pretty much bullshit to suggest that any shooter with a malfunctioning semi-auto is now at risk of getting hauled to federal prison. I'm pretty sure that no manufacturer ever used a complete M16 trigger group, complete with selector, in an AR-15, and pretty much what damned Olofson from the start was his statement to the kid that allowed the government to establish that Olofson knew he had a machine gun. Is the government lying? Anything is possible, but the jury didn't seem to think so.

    Also, the BATFE does have a history of making some pretty outrageous claims, and getting smacked down by the courts. I agree there are plenty of agents that are decent people, and want to do what they ought to be doing, which is catching real criminals, but the problem with many of the laws they are enforcing make every gun owner a potential criminal if they add the wrong part, or buy a rifle that an unscrupulous importer made out of an old machine gun receiver (it's happened). And whether Randy Weaver broke federal law or not doesn't really change the fact that there are people walking free today that ought to be in prison for the fuckups that happened in that case.

    But I do agree that the proper remedy to all this is to work to change the law. Maybe that makes me an ATF boot licker, but so be it. I mean, telling people they can't make machine guns just isn't up there with tossing people into ovens. Some people need to get on ebay, and order a sense of perspective. Some actions ought to be resisted violently, like tossing people into ovens. Others we can work through the political system to change, like the machine gun laws.

  15. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Lagniappe's owner: As to your belief that you can disobey any law that's "repugnant to the Constitution", ...

    A site:
    An unconstitutional legislative enactment, through law in form, is in fact not law at all. It confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed. Bonnett v. Vallier, 116 N.W. 885, 136 Wis. 193 (1908); Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442. (1886)

    "First, jumping to Nazi comparisons ..."

    He didn't compare anyone to Nazi's; he stated that the actions taken by the Nazi's were "legal under German law at the time". This was simply to refute the claim that one "must obey the law" as it should be obvious that "being the law" is _not_ a sufficient basis for a claim of moral obligation to act in a particular manner; it is certainly not a sufficient basis in America where only those statues that are in accord with the U.S. Constitution have _any_ validity.

  16. Fine, Bob R. Then if the law isn't valid, stand up like a man, challenge it in court--by violating it openly and getting arrested and charged--and have it overturned.

    See, in the court cases that you cite, the court reviewed the laws at issue and declared them invalid. The gun laws you hate have not been declared invalid, and it's the courts that make that decision, not just you or any other anarchist. Sorry guy, but nothing in our nation's make-up created any provision for you or anyone else to just decide that you don't think a law is valid and therefore you can ignore it.

    But please--prove me wrong. Illegally convert an AR-15 into a machine gun like Olofson did then take it to the local police department and tell them that you believe that your possession of the machine gun is ok because you don't think the laws prohibiting such a thing are valid. Then you can stand up in court and get the gun laws thrown out for all time. Be the man, Bob R! I'll even contribute to your defense fund.

    As for the Nazi comparison, yes, that's a common tactic of the fake patriot crowd here. They want to justify their hatred for our country and the government created by our founding fathers so they pretend that it's as bad as Nazi Germany's, and by extension, they imply that they're really fighting nazism and not just our own Constitutional rule of law. That's screw-ball talk, and it only comes from two sectors--the radical/anarchist Left, and the Tim McVeigh militia Right. And I consider both factions to be equally repugnant to this great country of ours.

  17. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Good piece.

  18. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I don't know why my comment got eaten, but it never appeared.

    The basic gist of it was that there are some "inconsistencies" in the very affidavit that you have determined is unassailable evidence of Olafson's guilt.

    For example: At one point the charge is leveled that Olafson was selling rifles on E-bay. It is common knowledge that E-bay does not allow (and, as far as I know, has never allowed) sales of firearms. The statement was clearly designed to imply that Olafson was illegally "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, but was not substantiated...was, in fact VERY unlikely...and was, therefore, a moot point.

    Also, the affidavit states repeatedly that the firearm in question had been modified to fire three round bursts...yet when the BATFE inspector test fired the rifle, it fired entire 20 round magazines "automatically" three consecutive times.

    Something doesn't add up there.

    I'm not saying that Olafson is a saint, but I certainly think that there are some serious questions about the conduct of the BATFE in this instance and the case that they brought.

    And, yes...based upon past cases and the history of the BATFE, I find it entirely credible that they may have themselves modified the rifle to "prove" their case.

  19. You are perfectly free to practice do-it-yourself constitutional construction. But one of the aspects of civil disobedience is a willingness to pay the price for it. The fact of the matter is, you can try to challenge the machine gun laws in court, but most second amendment legal experts I've talked to say you'll lose.

    At some point, if you want machine guns to be legal for the general public, you have to change hearts and minds. The reason they are illegal is because the vast majority of Americans believe they should be, and don't believe the second amendment recognizes the right to have one. I disagree with that, but it's reality. Under our system of government, constitution construction is driven by the Democratic process, ultimately, though the politicians that put the federal judges and justices on the bench. Maybe that's not the best way to do things, but I can't really think of a better way. Can you?

  20. Sailorcurt, were you in the courtroom by chance? Because 12 jurors who were--12 people who heard and saw all the evidence first-hand and who presumably heard Olofson's lawyer's best arguments against that evidence and the credibility of the government witnesses--still found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Olofson did what he was accused of. Not eleven jurors, or six, but all twelve. And they got a lot more facts than you or I got from looking at a few things on the net, didn't they?
    That affidavit wasn't evidence in the case--it was merely the outline of the probable cause for the arrest and the charge. So arguing over what people can sell on e-bay doesn't really matter post-trial, and you can be absolutely sure that the rifle's illegal operation was demonstrated sufficiently to satisfy the jurors. All twelve agreed, and Olofson's lawyer even got to participate in the picking of that jury. The burden was all on the government to prove their case, and they apparently did it despite Olofson's lawyer's attempt to discredit the case.

    So all we're left with is your sour-grapes claim that the government must have conspired to set this guy up and rig his rifle to fire automatically just to "get" him, and they obviously did it before his pal took it to the range and fired it in front of those non-federal police officers.

    It's tin-foil-hat conspiracies like this that make gun owners in general look stupid and/or criminal.

    Please pay attention to Sebastian's post. There is a way to change the law--and a few states have recently opened up to machine guns--notably Michigan and Kansas just recently--because the rational, non-loopy gun owners worked through the legislature and got it done. The system obviously works when you use it properly.

  21. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Actually, Sailorcurt is not spouting tinfoil hat theories nor saying they 'must have conspired'. He said it would not surprise him after he laid inconsistencies in ATF's own words/actions. that is different and based on past actions of ATF (I know it's BATFE but I'm old school), I concur with the assessment.

    Regarding the olofson case, basically both sides told their share of lies. The side with the badges won. Olofson was not a saint. Neither were the agents involved.

    That said, I agree with you when you say to people 'then challenge the law'. But they won't. Olofson tried after he got caught. Finscher tried and is in jail. Someone who chooses to challenge such a law needs to do so in a manner that is not retarded.

  22. I agree with most of what you say, but I haven't seen any proof that the government "lied" during the trial. One would think that if even one juror thought so, Olofson would be walking free now and petitioning for the return of all of the other guns and ammo seized from his residence. That "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" standard can't work if the judge or even one juror doesn't find the government's witnesses to be credible.

  23. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Either your moderation is malfunctioning, or it's been tampered with.

    Out of three comments I've posted here, only one of them has seen the light of day.

    I guess, since I'm just a tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorist anyway, I'll assume the worst and take my points to my blog, where comments aren't so prone to going mysteriously MIA.

  24. Sorry Sailorcurt, the moderation's not defective--it's actually pretty effective and consistent and while I give posters plenty of latitude as far as discussing the actual topic goes, I also choose not to approve posts which learn towards discussing me instead of the topic at hand. If I really want someone to tell me what's wrong with me, I'll call that Dr. Laura radio shrink.

    Now if you've got any more thoughts about the actual trial, and the jury decision to convict Olofson, preferably thoughts that don't run in the direction of government conspiracies intended to "get" this guy for no reason that anyone can credibly suggest, then I'm all ears.

  25. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Well, let's see.

    It appears you are some variety of cop, and that does give credence to your siding with the ATF (yes, ATF), especially given the previous failure of local cops to convict this guy for other offenses.

    The point isn't that you 'think' the weapon was modified and you assume the ATF didn't lie in the second test - but must have in the first because they contradict each other or that the affadavit also contradicts the supposed full auto test. The point is the evidence should be available unedited for review if you actually believe in the rule of law.

    The appeal of the case might hold interest for some who are interested in the facts. The refusal of the judge to use the Staples definition of 'automatically' contradicts case law. The sequestering of the defense firearms expert also appears to be a 703 violation - again, the rule of law should apply to both prosecution and defense. And, the prosecution refused (with Court support) to allow a manufacturers document that would have obviously proven exculpatory.

    Call me all the names you like, but if you support the rule of law this case is anything but. It is simply another instance of a judge willing to ignore case law and bend over backwards to accomodate the police and prosecutors who had a grudge against this guy.

    Was he perfect? No - but the character of the ATF 'officers' and the judge and prosecution hardly meets muster. Yes, Lagniappe's owner, the ATF really, really does lie in court, 'lose' documents and go to any length to win presecutions - I remember them well when they tried it on my family, and lost. Not to mention reams of documentation that appeared to be somehow missing in your point of view on the matter.

  26. OK, you started out trying to put me in my place with a personal attack, so that doesn't win you a lot of points right off the bat. Don't worry about who I am. If you have a point to make about the case, stick to that instead of trying to bite at my ankles, ok?

    As to Rule of Law, there are established rules regarding what may be presented as evidence and what may not. Olofson's attorney tried to drag all sorts of irrelevant stuff in, but the facts were pretty clear in that Olofson knowingly possessed and then transferred a machine gun to his pal Kiernicki. Kiernicki's testimony was clear on that point. HE knew that he had a machine gun because Olofson TOLD him that it was one and cautioned him not to fire it in full-auto at the public range. But he did anyway and got caught with it, and then told investigators where he got the gun--from Olofson--and under what circumstances.

    You call it a conspiracy, but for your conspiracy theory to hold water, it would require a combined effort by:
    1. the local police officers who took the gun from Kiernicki.
    2. Kiernicki
    3. The local sheriff who called in BATFE
    4. Several BATFE personnel, both investigators and Tech Branch people
    5. The US Attorney's office, both the lead prosecutor and several others in that office who prepared that case
    6. The judge in that case.

    For your conspiracy theory to have any validity, all of these people--over a dozen at least--would have to decide to put their careers and reputations on the line just to jam up a nobody on a relatively minor felony. Can you tell us why all of these people would risk their careers and their freedom to get one guy? That doesn't make sense.

    Next, if there was anything to that, a competent attorney could have made the argument before the jury. A competent attorney could have made several arguments before the jury. Defense attorneys have a lot of latitude, especially compared to the government. Yet twelve people heard the case and twelve people considered everything that the defense had to say, and twelve people decided that the government's case made sense and that the government's witnesses were all credible.

    It's also telling that Olofson refused to testify and, of course, subject himself to cross-examination. I know that he has the right not to do that, but if he really beleived himself innocent and had nothing to hide, he'd have beaten a path to that witness stand. But he just sat there and dared the government to prove it's case, and while his fan club was running around spreading tons of false information and trying to make him look like a victim, a hero and/or a candidate for sainthood, the government calmly made it's case and the jury agreed unanimously that they had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Olofson had done what the govenrment's evidence suggested.

    Finally, enough with the BATFE boogey-man crap. (And it IS BATFE--get with it) Every person who works for that agency is not Satan--many are very strongly pro-gun and they work to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal element, making life safer for everyone else and actually doing a service for law-abiding gun owners by reining in the armed criminals before those criminals can do more damage with guns and bring down more calls for gun control on the rest of us.

    That aside, this case wasn't run by BTAFE in court. Once the case was given to the US Attorney's office for prosecution, BATFE had absolutely no control over it. Police agencies--including BATFE--simply assemble evidence and present the case to the prosecutor, and then they sit back and wait to be called as witnesses. It's not their case anymore. You may believe that BATFE agents lie and go overboard to win cases, but that doesn't make it true, and again, it doesn't pass the smell test when you tell us that people who worked for years to get into high-paying career law-enforcement jobs are so willing to jeopardize their jobs and their chance of ever getting another one by routinely lying and behaving improperly just to "get" defendants. Sorry, but I know for a fact that it doesn't work that way.

    So thanks for playing.

  27. Anonymous6:25 PM

    So what if he tampered with it?

    He is in effect going to jail for 30 months because he knowingly or unknowingly transferred/lent a weapon to a friend without paying a $200 stamp tax. A STAMP TAX. I seem to remember something about a revolution fought over payment of stamp taxes... Oh yes that's it that was the birth of your 'Republic'.

    How many of you owe that much in parking tickets or back taxes in any given quarter?

    Laws of the Republic? Puuleeezzz. If you want to go that route then any weapon that could be fielded by an invading infantrymen is covered by the 2nd Amendment according to the Founders.

    Shall not be infringed.

    Mr. Sulfur

  28. And to quote one of our founding fathers:

    We are a nation of laws. We can obey the laws or we can change the laws, but one thing that we cannot do if we are to survive as a nation is break the laws.

    And of course it goes without saying that what the law says trumps your opinions of whatever you as an individual citizen thinks that the law should say. Sorry fella, but that's life in the grown up world.

  29. That sounds suspiciously like a garbled version of:

    "Our very freedom is secure because we're a nation governed by laws, not by men. We cannot as citizens pick and choose the laws we will or will not obey."

    -- Ronald Reagan
    Remarks in Chicago, Illinois, at the Annual Convention and Centennial Observance of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Sep 3, 1981.

    I knew he was one of the oldest men ever elected President but I didn't know he as old enough to be a Founder.

  30. Anonymous11:16 PM

    This has to be the worst discussion about this case I have ever seen. We have a person kissing BATFE ass and using the Tin-Foil hat argument, that every claim against BATFE is devised by a conspiracy theorist with only one thing in mind, the destruction of the Founding Fathers work and all of America. Then when someone gets a reputable argument on your words, you alter their original statement to go along with the "Everyone Compares The Nazis To America," which is complete bull shit.If you are not a government implant you fit the description very well.

    I loved your rant about everyone on FALfiles etc. etc. Very, very relevant with the case at hand.

    The truth is, you have to take everyone's word with a grain of salt. Because although Olofson is veteran, and a family man, his "words, acts, and history" are a little shady. On the other hand, the ATF is well known for spewing foul smelling substance from just about every hole in existance, but there are also the Patriotic few that devote their time to the real problems and actually do their jobs correctly.

  31. The second amendment was written not because the founders thought it was a good idea, they included it because it is one of the natural laws given by God.Anyone{feds} who tries to take these rights is breaking the highest law Gods law.

  32. Not so much, Eric. Nothing in the Bible says that you can manufacture illegal machine guns, or possess firearms at all.

    But if you want to get Biblical about it, you might do well to reflect on the concept that all lawful authority comes from God. God puts those in power over us and expects us to obey them.

    (1 Peter 2:13-14 NIV) Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, {14} or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

    (1 Peter 2:18 NIV) Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

    In the Olofson case, Olofson knew what he was doing was wrong and he tried to conceal it--the act of a coward. I have no respect or sympathy for the guy and little more than contempt for those duped into taking up his cause.

  33. Murphy I guess african slaves should have just submitted,european jews should have turned themselves into the ss, american indians merrily marched off to the reservation. Nowhere in the bible are men told to obey mans law above Gods. Anyone can pull verses out of context and prove any point. Why doesn't the atf go into the inner-city and dissarm the gang members and other fellons. It's telling that he people they go after are ordinary americans.

  34. BAFTE goes after gang members and hard-core criminals every day, Eric.

    In this case, they also took Olofson AFTER a case was initiated by the local police department that was investigating Kierniki's possession of a clearly-illegal machine gun and Olofosn's boasting that he had made that one and others like it. ATF did not go hunting for Olofoson--the local police began the case then turned it over to them because of the federal firearms violation.

    Oh--and before you come around accusing me of taking the Bible out of context, you might want to try actually reading it and you'll see that I did no such thing. You're the one trying to use ridiculous analogies to make a point that cannot be made and I merely refuted it with chapter and verse to prove you wrong. You might want to just get off that angle, because it's not going to work for you. God didn't say that you or Olofson could make illegal machine guns and more than he said that you can have a meth lab in your garage. Arguing that case is just stupid.

    The bottom line is that our laws are made by our elected representatives, like them or not, and the laws are presumed valid under our Constitution unless and until they are challenged successfully in court or are modified or repealed, either by the representatives or the voters directly. None of those things was done here nor were they tried. Olofson knew the law and just decided to break it on the sly for kicks. That takes him well off of that pedestal that so many people try to put him up on. He wasn't a great American--he was a common criminal just like the dope boy on the corner.

  35. So what's the deal with the Staples definition of "automatic" not being applied?

    Just a cursory glance at the court transcripts indicate (to me anyway) Olofson knowingly possessed an illegal machine gun, however the fact of the matter is, if that definition can be "ignored" than a malfunction COULD be construed enough to get the owner thrown in jail apparently. No?

  36. @ Mike,

    One thing that most of the "oh, any of us could go to jail for a malfunctioning semi-auto" crowd overlooks is the statutory requirment for intent. To commit this crime--to commit most crimes--the government has to prove that you knew and intended to commit it. If My AR-15 malfunctions and doubles or triples, there's no crime there because it wasn't intentional.
    Now if I know that it's doing this and I keep taking it out to shoot in that condition, then the knowledge and intention can be inferred. In the Olofson case, it was made quite clear that Olofson new that this rifle fired more than one round with every pull of the trigger and that it was his intent to have it that way. That's where he got his felony conviction. His defenders would have you believe otherwise, but that's really the case in a nutshell, and quite honestly, BATFE and the US Attorney's office both have better things to do with their time and resources than spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to am up one little nobody on false charges. Seriously.

    In sum, Olofson was just another run-of-the-mill petty criminal who likely could have pled the case out to a misdemeanor had he not suffered from arrogance and/or bad legal advice.

  37. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I know this is a very old post, but I really liked it. I've been researching Olofson's case all morning because I ran across it someplace and I had the same reaction: it just didn't pass the smell test.

    There is no way this guy was prosecuted for having a malfunctioning gun alone. I actually figured that, at best, it had legitimately malfunctioned and he knowingly kept using it. But according to the affidavits available, it appears that not only did Olofson and the firer both know it would fire full auto, but it makes it pretty clear it was not an accidental thing - it was made to do so.

    I like your blog - I've been reading through it the last hour. I don't always agree with everything you wrote, but you appear to be a free thinker who isn't waiting for the "SHTF" time so you can shoot agents of the government. Thank God there are a few of us left.