The case of David Olofson

Yesterday, SayUncle linked to this post over at Lagniappe’s Lair regarding the Olofson case.

I haven’t commented on the case to date because I’m just not convinced that either side is being 100% up front. There are too many inconsistencies in the BATFE’s “evidence”…and their past history doesn’t exactly engender blind trust, now does it?

I’m not entirely convinced, however, that Olofson is completely guilt free either.

The premise of the blog post linked yesterday though, was that an affidavit filed by the BATFE investigator, characterized in the post as:

part and parcel of the case against Olofson.

demonstrated that

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.

Well, I hadn’t really looked over the affidavit that well so I clicked the provided images and gave them a gander.

Two things immediately struck me when reading it.

First, in paragraph 16, the affidavit states:

Kiernicki advised that Olofson gets old firearms and then remanufactures them and sells them over the internet on EBay.

Anyone that has ever done business on E-Bay knows that they have a longstanding prohibition against selling firearms and, as of fairly recently, won’t even allow the selling of firearms components. That contention is demonstrably false on its face.

Next, in Paragraph 17 of the same page:

On November 6, 2006, a Firearms Enforcement Officer with ATF test fired the Olympic Arms, serial number F7079…Three tests were performed, each with twenty rounds of ammunition. When the selector switch was placed in the unmarked third position, the firearm fired all twenty rounds automatically in each of the three tests.

But…wait a minute here…wasn’t the earlier testimony that the rifle had been modified to fire three round bursts?

Why, yes…it was…

Paragraph 7

Kiernicki explained that the firearm had a selector switch that could be placed in any of three positions…According to Kiernicki, when the selector switch was in the unmarked third position, the firearm fired in a three round burst…”

Paragraph 14

…Kiernicki explained that Olofson told him not to fire the weapon in three round burst because it might malfunction…

The only thing provided in the blog post for consideration was the affidavit; therefore, the affidavit was what I directly addressed in my comment. To my mind, those two inconsistencies alone are enough to call into question the accuracy of the information in the affidavit. I commented and said so. Actually, that links to my second comment. The blog in question moderates comments and somehow my first attempt to comment disappeared. No blood, no foul

UPDATE: The link to my comment just takes you to the main post so I’ll kill that link and just repost the whole thing here:

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.

The author’s reply was somewhat…um…interesting:

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.

Wow…defensive much?

Strangely, my reply to that never made it past moderation either. Hmmm. Once may be an accident. Twice is beginning to look suspicious; that’s why I decided to bring it over here. Comments don’t have a tendency to mysteriously disappear at Captain of a Crew of One.

I’d be happy to entertain further discussion if Lagniappe cares to come over here to do it…and I don’t moderate comments so I can guarantee that his won’t vanish into the ether.

In any case, here’s as close an approximation to my reply as I can remember:

Of course I wasn’t in the courtroom, were you?

I was replying directly to the premise of your post…which is what I thought was the purpose of comments on blogs in the first place.

I never said that the affidavit was evidence in the case; YOU said “this affidavit (below) that was used part and parcel of the case against Olofson.” and asserted “Clearly if the facts sworn to in this document are true–and there’s no reason to assume otherwise,”

All I did was point out inconsistencies in the “part and parcel of the case against Olofson” to demonstrate that their just may be “reason to assume otherwise”.

Would you care to address my point, or are you content to satisfy yourself with slaying straw men and flinging ad hominems about “sour grapes” and “tin-foil-hat conspiracies”?

I’m eagerly awaiting any (completely unmoderated) reply that he may choose to offer.

2 thoughts on “The case of David Olofson

  1. Thank you.
    You stated excatly what I wanted to tell him.

    Of course, if he is just going to throw away legitimate arguments to the entire premise to his blog (the afidavit) then I will not waste my time stating what you already attempted to post.

  2. If he did the modification then I can see his responsibility to the action of the weapon. I am a huge 2nd amendment supporter but if he broke the law then he broke the law, even if we don’t like the law.

    hypothetical question:

    If a person bought a new military/law enforcement AR15 with a 3 shot burst selector switch on it that somehow got out of the factory by accident how would they go about dealing it with without losing $1500 or going to jail? I thought I read somewhere that this very thing happened. Would they be able to return said weapon to (for example) Colt for an exchange or would they have to turn it in to ATF?

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