Fairness In Firearms Testing Act Needed To Curb BATFE Abuses

The Obama Administration and dozens of politicians are pretending that they are worried that America’s loose gun laws have allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico for use in the drug wars that are plaguing that country.

President Obama is using this nonsense as an excuse to double the number of BATFE agents so he can blanket the border with agents to stop the flow of guns into Mexico.

What nonsense!  As if the drug cartels that have their own armies, huge fleet of airplanes, submarines and rocket launchers need to rely on smugglers to get guns from the U.S.!

Clearly, this is nothing other than the latest tactic from this antigun administration to add some muscle to the most reckless and corrupt branch of our government – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A couple of decades ago, Congress passed the FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act) to reign in this renegade agency after a Congressional investigation officially concluded that “seventy-five percent of BATFE prosecutions were constitutionally improper.”

Today, twenty-four years later, the BATFE is just as bad, if not worse, than it was back then.  Only now the White house and the Congress are filled with people who want to give them more power, more authority and more boots on the ground to continue their unconstitutional attack on gun owners.

From using paid “informants” to provide false testimony, to physically tampering with firearms to turn them into “machine guns,” to abusing and harassing mom and pop gun shops who cannot afford to legally defend themselves, this agency appears not only to have little or no regards for the rights of citizens, but is clearly willing even to ignore the rulings of the Supreme Court.

As you know, over the years, Gun Owners has helped dozens of victims of BATFE abuse.  Some of these victims were literally framed by BATFE agents who actually converted semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons – and then charged them with selling unregistered machine guns!

In one case that we were involved with, the Olofson Case, we discovered that the alleged “machine gun” was, in reality, one of thousands of ordinary semi-automatic rifles made by Olympic Arms.  We learned that it only became a machine gun when the BATFE, behind closed doors, mechanically tampered with the rifle to the extent that it would misfire a burst of several rounds before it jammed.

Getting guns to malfunction is a favorite technique of the BATFE as it gives them a great opportunity to rack up convictions on the possession or selling of “machine guns,” which requires a special type of license.

For some time, Gun Owners has lobbied to require the BATFE to videotape their test firings of alleged machines.  We knew that if juries could see the outrageous, even bizarre, efforts the agency uses to get a gun to fire off an extra round or two, they would throw all of these cases out of court and Congress would have the evidence it needs to take action and clean house at this agency.

Unlike all other agencies, the BATFE has no sets of standards or rules for conducting their business.  They have no manuals that set out procedures for the work they do. This gives them the latitude to do whatever they wish with total impunity.

And this is what enables them to make the rules up as they go along.  This allows them to conduct repeated “test firings” until they get the results they are looking for.

Clearly, when a test firing fails to prove that a weapon is a machine gun that should be the end

of any debate as to whether a person is selling “machine guns.”  But because the BATFE has no rules, they simply do it again and again, until they are able to force a gun to misfire.

As you can see, with a renegade agency like this trampling our gun rights, nobody is safe.  Not you, not me and not our favorite semi-automatic firearm.

That is why we are really encouraged about the Fairness in Firearms Testing Act (H.R. 1923).  Introduced by Congressman Phil Gingrey, this bill will require that an unedited video be recorded during the testing of a firearm to determine if it is a machine gun.

Had such a law been in place when David Olofson’s rifle was being “tested,” his case would have been thrown out immediately and he would be home today with his wife and three children.

Had such a law been in place, jurors, the media and the Congress would have seen the extent to which the BATFE is capable of and willing to trample the rights of citizens in their frenzy to put innocent gun owners behind bars.

Sadly, H.R. 1923 is not yet the law of the land.  And, until it is passed, there will be more innocent Americans victimized by this out-of-control agency that acts more like a subsidiary of the anti-gun lobby than an agency under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

The Fairness in Firearms Testing Act ought to be an easy bill to pass.  Who can defend an agency that tampers with evidence to make their case or who pays thugs to entrap ordinary law-abiding citizens?

But with folks like Chuck Schumer and Caroline McCarthy running the Congress, it may be a lot tougher to pass such a sensible bill than you might imagine.  That is why I am looking for all all-out effort from you and all the other members of GOA.

Over the years, GOA has fought for a wide variety of gun rights issues.  Our yardstick for which issues we choose to prioritize is based on securing the liberty of ordinary citizens.  To me, the Olofson case is a clear example of what happens to our freedoms if we let our government abuse the law for its own purposes.

David Olofson has been robbed of all his freedom, not just his right to keep and bear arms.  He has lost his liberty, his family, and his life outside of prison.

It is just a turn of fate that it is David Olofson, not you or me that is rotting away in prison.  Please think about that when I ask you to sign the postcards I have enclosed.  The first postcard is addressed to David.  I have left the message side blank so you can choose your own words to let him know that there are a lot of gun owners out there praying for his release or whatever you wish to say to him.

Of the remaining postcards, one is for you and one for a friend or neighbor.  These postcards express our outrage at the lack of oversight this out-of-control agency receives and demands that H.R. 1923 be passed immediately so that no more innocent American citizens are framed and sentenced to prison so that the BATFE can rack up big numbers in their arrest column.

I also need you to try to make a generous contribution to Gun Owners so we can ramp up our efforts to find more cosponsors for H.R. 1923; call for an investigation into BATFE abuses; and continue our efforts to get David Olofson released and returned to his family.

Please try to be as generous as you can because every day this innocent gun owner remains in jail is not just a personal tragedy for the Olofson family, it remains a threat to all law-abiding gun owners.

I know that money is tight right now.  I feel it the same as you do and, at Gun Owners, we are doing everything we can to stretch every dollar for maximum effect.

So please, even if you cannot afford to send as much as you have done in the past, please try to send what you can safely afford.

Thank you again for your loyalty and your continued support for our work.


Larry Pratt

Executive Director