Thursday, May 15, 2008

30 Months

Len Savage, firearms expert, wants to tell you a story. A true one, that happened just down the street in small town america, just the other day. He should know, he was there at the trial, on the stand, when the story was first told. Now it may be over.

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".


That supposedly exculpatory document was never admitted to the court, the rifle was never examined by the defense, or by anyone other than the ATF, who denied an independent test, even when their own test at first showed zero evidence of wrongdoing. A paid (and no doubt, threatened with felony charges if he didnt) witness corroborated the governments story, but in the end it was sheer will on the part of the BATF and Prosecuting Attorney that brought charges forth against an outspoken but respected member of the community and national service, using tax money to build a case out of air with the abuse of an old recalled rifle and to buy a witness, who easily could have done something to the rifle in the weeks he had borrowed it. It was a series of (and i do mean several) no knock SWAT raids on Olofson's house, and the houses of several of his relatives, that netted nearly zero additional "evidence" (barring a .pdf and several emails that served to flesh out Olofson's political beliefs.), but a large amount of property seizures, and it was a judge who disallowed the admission of a strong defense and, in effect, "took the BATFe's word for it." Which, im sure, is what the local sheriff did when he lent his SWAT team to the feds front line. Its hard to say, exactly, who, if anyone is responsible, but what is certain, only one person will be held responsible in what appears to be a gross miscarriage of justice, and that is a man accused of giving a firearm to someone who then had a malfunction. This man was never accused of buying a machine gun, nor of manufacturing one, but somehow of giving one away, without an explanation of where it came from.

David R. Olofson, 36, was sentenced on May 13th, 2008, to 30 months in prison 2 years probation with 30 hours community service each year, and a $100.00 fine. He will leave behind his three children and his nearly 20 years of service in the armed forces. He will not be allowed to own a firearm, and in effect will be stripped not only of his rank and career, but of his rights as a US citizen.

Two and a half years.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


ReverendFranz said...

Also, here is a letter to the NRA, by Mr. Savage.

"Judge Clevert (I am told) stated that it does not matter what ammunition, or what error rate ATF testing has, or that a malfunction occurred, or even if it required ATF to modify the firearm, just that more than one round be fired per function of the trigger.

"Every firearm in possession of your membership is a 'machine gun' under this narrow interpretation. This is scientific fact, not my opinion. For example:

* A double barrel shotgun firing both barrels with a single trigger pull;

* A Colt single action loaded with thin-primer ammo (the pierced primer will 'fan' the hammer with gas pressure). Look up Georgia machine gun statute, they exempted it by stating a machine gun must fire more than 6 shots per function of the trigger;

* The ATF Firearms Technology Branch can test a rifle 100 different times; if they can manipulate it just once out of 100, you're indicted.

"The NRA's Jason Ouimet has been aware of this situation at ATF since before the congressional hearings on 'the Virginia gun show incident'. I was supposed to testify at the hearings about the ATF testing issues at that time. Much to my frustration, the hearing I was supposed to testify at was canceled. According to Jason, it was [the] NRA who pulled the plug on me.

"Now that the whole of the NRA membership is in jeopardy just by owning a firearm, [are] Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox, and the NRA board going to do something about this during this week's convention?

"Please pass this on to them:

* Words will not be sufficient. If this gets "unplugged", [if] the NRA refuses to address this issue, I will [have] no choice but to go to the media with documents and e-mails from [the] NRA that were generated during the last round of hearings. I will pull back the rug and show the world where [the] NRA swept this mess under [it] to hide it.

"Please forgive my abrupt and obtuse attitude. It is born of frustration [with the] deaf ears of the NRA leadership. I am there if I can to help the NRA, thus to date the NRA have refused to address this.

"My question to NRA leadership:

"Is this weekend's convention going to be your finest hour, or will this be noted in history as the beginning of the end of the NRA?


"Len Savage "Historic Arms LLC"

Lady said...

I read your letter and would love the opportunity to pass it along to my readers if you wouldn't mind? May I have your permission? JustMyTruth author...