1/08 Duck Hunters And Sportsmen: Next AFT Target

Duck Hunters and Sportsmen: You’re the Next Target of the ATF!

by Len Savage
As published in Red’s Trading Post

Acting ATF Director Michael J. Sullivan has taken the ATF to an all time low during a Federal trial this week, (U.S. v. Olofson, Milwaukee Wisconsin). US District Judge, the Honorable Charles N. Clevert chastised Assistant US Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad, for attempting to “Dupe the Defense” during the trial for attempting to use a slight of hand to prevent me from testifying for Mr. Olofson.

Mike Sullivan and the ATF Duped the Federal District Court, and Judge Clevert. But this is nothing new!

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 he would let Mr. Kiernicki borrow his oldest AR-15, go to a public range and target practice. He always returned the firearm and on 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 was seized by the ATF and was sent to the Firearm Technology Branch (FTB), the testing arm of the BATFE. They examined and test fired the rifle and then declared it to be “just a rifle.” You would think it would all be resolved at this point, but 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. Having no standard to stick to, they gleefully tried again. The results this time? A machine gun! ATF with a self-admitted 50% error rate pursued an indictment and Mr. Olofson was charged with “unlawful transfer of a machine gun.” Not possession — not even Robert Kiernicki was charged with possession (the one who actually possessed the rifle when it malfunctioned). Incredibly, 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 an M-16 trigger, disconnector and hammer. Calling it an AR-15 with M-16 trigger parts does not make it a machine gun. That is to say, during Olofson’s prosecution, the ATF removed a lawfully owned “machine gun” of another citizen from NFRTR (or machine gun registry) claiming it was an AR-15 with M-16 parts and therefore NOT a machine gun and never was even when it had been registered prior to 1986 with ATF. 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. Of course, the taxpayer’s name could have been redacted because it has nothing to do with the fact that ATF made and unmade the same gun a machine gun and then not a machine gun. All these exculpatory documents were kept secret from the Honorable Judge Clevert and the rest of the court — even the 1968 letter from the ATF to the manufacturer of Mr. Olofson’s rifle, 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.” Trusting ATF is the same as trusting the fox to guard the chicken coop.

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…”

If your semiautomatic rifle breaks or malfunctions you’re now subject to prosecution. That is now a sad FACT. I guess we know now what Senator Kennedy meant when he said he looked forward to working with Mike Sullivan on gun control issues, after his committee approved him for full Senate vote.

To those in the sporting culture who have derided “black guns” and so called “assault weapons” your double barreled shotgun is now next up to be seized and you could possibly be prosecuted if the ATF can get it to “fire more than once”.

Hey, but don’t worry. The people testing it have no procedures in writing and the testing will be in secret. Also if you know of information that proves YOUR innocence, maybe the ATF won’t claim that it’s tax information at your trial and prevent YOUR judge from viewing it.

Are you next up on the menu?

Len Savage-President
Historic Arms LLC