Join Date: Dec 1998
During a discussion on another board some interesting facts were pointed out to me. I had based my opinion on Mr. Olofsons, Bladerunner71 posted here. He failed to give us some important details that came to light on other boards. Seems we were misled.
"The selector switch on the borrowed AR-15 had three positions: one marked “fire,” one marked “safety,” and one that was unmarked. Olofson and Kiernicki discussed the unmarked setting on July 13, 2006, which was the fourth time that Olofson loaned Kiernicki the weapon. Olofson told Kiernicki that putting the selector switch in the unmarked position would enable the AR-15 to fire a three-round burst with a single pull of the trigger, but the gun would then jam."
While at a shooting range that same day, Kiernicki (for the first time since using the gun) switched the AR-15 to the unmarked position and pulled the trigger; three or four rounds were discharged before the gun jammed. Kiernicki fired the weapon in that fashion several times, and each time it jammed after a short burst of three or four rounds. Police received a telephone complaint of automatic gunfire at the shooting range. When officers arrived at the range, they confiscated the AR-15 from Kiernicki. Kiernicki told the police that he had borrowed the gun from Olofson. Several days later, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) interviewed Olofson while executing a search warrant at his home. During that conversation, Olofson acknowledged loaning the AR-15 to Kiernicki.
The government's expert who test-fired the AR-15 stated that he exhausted a twenty-round magazine with one continuous depression of the trigger and emptied two additional twenty-round magazines in five-or ten-round bursts by intermittently depressing, holding, and releasing the trigger. He also declared that the weapon was intended to fire in such fashions and that a “hammer-follow” malfunction was not the cause.
That is not what Olofson alleged, nor is it what the letter indicated.
Jerry: the rifle came from the factory with the M-16 parts.
That evidence is a 1983 letter from the ATF to the manufacturer of the AR-15 in which the ATF advised the company that the installation of certain M-16 parts in AR-15 receivers may permit the weapon to fire automatically even though an automatic sear is not present.
The letter was, by all accounts, the BATF telling the manufacturer that if someone installed certain M-16 parts in their receivers that the weapons could fire automatically even without an autosear (as Olofson's weapon did).
The recall was to get rid of those receivers so that people couldn't convert them to fire full auto.
Olofson’s firearm fired automatically because, although it was a semiautomatic AR-15, it had M-16 fire control components. More specifically, the firearm had an M-16 trigger, hammer, disconnector, and selector. Olofson’s firearm was not manufactured with that configuration of M-16 fire control components. Tr. 120, 136-37.
Olofson was aware that those M-16 components were in his AR-15 and that it was those components that caused his firearm to fire automatically. E-mails and other documents on his computer showed that he had ordered M-16 parts. And he had a manual that described how to convert a semiautomatic AR-15 to an automatic M-16 by substituting the very M-16 parts that were in Olofson’s converted machinegun – that is, the hammer, the trigger, the disconnector, and the selector. Tr. 74-80. Olofson knew that his firearm fired automatically and, given this evidence, likely was the person who made the conversions that allowed it to do so.
Olofson’s AR contained numerous M16 parts. As far as I know, some manufacturers in the 70s and 80s used some M16 parts in their AR-15s, like bolt carriers and hammers, until the ATF issued a ruling that the practice be stopped. Olofson’s AR had an M16 trigger, disconnector, selector, and hammer. As far as I know, there weren’t any manufacturers that used this many M16 parts in their ARs. The agent who examined the parts, correctly in my view, stated that this did not constitute a machine gun, but ATF has long held M16 parts in an AR to be a no no.
Here's the thread on arfcom. The OP (Bladerunner2347) is Olofson.
Olofson repeatedly denies converting the gun, however, it was shown that he had purchased parts identical to those used in the conversion.
On page 11, a poster makes a very pertinent observation. Either Olofson or Kiernicki is "BSing bigtime". The poster marvels that Olofson is taking things so calmly given that the Kiernicki appears to be creating a huge amount of trouble for Olofson. Great point. If someone was essentially manufacturing evidence that could put you in federal prison, one would expect that you'd be at least slightly upset about it. Olofson just keeps going on and on about points of law he's going to raise and talking about jurisdiction, jury nullification, technicalities with the paperwork he's been served, etc... NOT at all the kind of response an innocent person unjustly accused would be expected to make.
Reading through the thread reveals that Olofson never claims that the M-16 parts came on the gun from the factory. He specifically indicated he had replaced the fire control parts but claimed that they were aftermarket AR-15 (DPMS) parts.
Here's a VERY interesting comment by Olofson. He's just posted that the testing showed the rifle was NOT a machinegun after he recieved the first set of test results. So he's overjoyed and celebrating his confirmed innocence, right? Nope. He's telling everyone that the BATF can test the rifle differently and get different results. Here's his quote--my emphasis added.
"If you can manage to read all of the report they fill in some of the blanks I had prior to today. Some of my DPMS parts in the fire control group have been replaced with M16 parts. Enough that the hammer follows the bolt and carrier down. It may not have fired full auto the first time they tested it, but we all know what has to be done to make it work, so they darn well could make it work by just changeing the way they test it. This tech was just not on the same page with them to start with."
So why would Olofson expect that the rifle will fire full-auto even after repeatedly stating that it wouldn't and after receiving word that the initial test showed it wouldn't? You be the judge.
Here's a comment from Olofson on page 23
"I only have semi stuff. I don't keep or use FA Stuff. That weapon had a DPMS Group in it last I checked, installed in 94."
Sounds good, right? Except that the sentencing memorandum indicates that they found records showing that Olofson had ordered M16 parts. He also had a manual showing how to convert an AR-15 to full-auto using exactly the M-16 parts that were installed in the rifle.
Another anomaly that's not relevant but speaks to Olofson's credibility (or lack thereof). Olofson claims to have sold only 7 guns in the past few years. Then on page 25 he admits to purchasing 6-12 AR-15 lowers at a time to build guns for people. Clearly he's not exactly careful about keeping his stories straight. I guess he figures that by ordering the receivers through an FFL and then transferring the built lowers (legally firearms) to people via an FFL, he's not actually selling firearms.
Ok, so what does it all mean?
1. Olofson demonstrates some credibility issues in his posts on the arfcom thread.
2. Olofson WAS given the benefit of the doubt and wasn't prosecuted for MANUFACTURING or POSSESSING a machinegun. He was prosecuted for TRANSFERRING a gun he knew (according to Kiernicki's sworn testimony) would fire more than a single round with one pull of the trigger.
3. Given Kiernicki's testimony, the BATF's actions were proper. We can either choose to believe Olofson (in which case Kiernicki intentionally and unjustly put Olofson in prison) or Kiernicki (in which case Olofson is where he belongs), but either way, the BATF is off the hook. They did what exactly what they should have done given the sworn testimony of Kiernicki.
4. MOST importantly, the gun in question was UNQUESTIONABLY modified from the original factory configuration, not just broken.
If we believe Kiernicki, Olofson installed M16 parts in the gun & filed on some of the remaining parts and told him that the 3rd position was for full-auto but that while it WOULD fire full-auto (short burst) in that position it would also jam.
Olofson is adamant, on arfcom, that the gun left him with an aftermarket parts set, installed while he owned it, and that it didn't have M16 parts when he last had possession. If we believe Olofson, someone else (probably Kiernicki) installed M16 parts in the gun & did some filing on the remaining parts.
EITHER way, SOMEBODY modified the gun. This was NOT simply a case of a semi-auto malfunctioning and someone getting railroaded for it. The gun had clearly had M16 parts installed and internal modifications performed.
Which all gets us back around to the original allegation that brought up the Olofson case on this thread.
We do NOT need to worry about being charged with having a full-auto because one of our semi-autos malfunctions.
We DO need to worry if we have a semi-auto that can be made to fire full-auto AND that has FA parts installed and other internal modifications performed.
I find it very questionable, if not downright incriminating, that Olofson's expert witness apparently tried to lead the court to believe that the rifle came from the maker with M-16 parts and that Olofson didn't modify it. The implication being that the M-16 parts found on the rifle came from the factory. If you look at some of the stuff Olofson posted on GT, you'll find these two comments by the expert witness among the trial-related data.
The fact is that Olofson, according to his arfcom posts, replaced the original factory parts at least twice, the last time with DPMS parts, according to his posts on arfcom. Clearly the M-16 parts found on the rifle later weren't from the factory. We have Olofson's posts as proof.
And that's even if we assume that the original parts were actually M-16 parts and there seems to be evidence that they weren't.
By the way, on page 91 of the arfcom thread, a couple of interesting points are raised by AZAtty480.
If Kiernicki put the parts in the gun to get it to fire full auto, he had ample opportunity to dispose of the gun and/or the parts before it was seized. The gun was not seized when the Berlin Police officer initially contacted him at the range after the report of full auto gunfire. Kiernicki was able to leave that location with the AR15. If he put those parts in the gun, he had time to get rid of the gun and/or remove the M16 parts and get rid of them. It was not until sometime later that the police re-contacted him and seized the Olympic Arms AR15. The Berlin Police Department contacted the ATF to report the incident. An ATF Agent requested that they impound the firearm. The Berlin Police did so. The argument could be made that if Kiernicki was the one who put the parts in the gun to make it fire automatically, that he had plenty of time to get rid of the gun or the M16 parts. By not doing so, one could argue that shows a lack of consciousness of guilt.
An excellent point. Kiernicki could have easily gotten rid of the evidence if he had wanted to. He didn't. It strongly suggests that he wasn't worried about being held responsible. Add that to the fact that he didn't appear to be particularly knowledgeable about the internals of AR-15s (we know that because he approached Olofson to have Olofson build him an AR-15 lower) AND the fact that Olofson was shown to have ordered M-16 parts like the ones in question and it makes it pretty implausible that Kiernicki was the one who doctored the rifle.
The defense chose not to defend the case by arguing or suggesting that the M16 parts were installed in the gun by Kiernicki or someone other than Olofson. They did not even argue that the prosecution failed to prove that Olofson put the parts in the gun prior to transferring it to Kiernicki.
Another excellent point. Given that the case revolved around these M-16 parts and the internal filework and the rifle had been out of Olofson's possession for "months", why not try to prove that someone else made the modifications? Remember, all the defense would have had to do was raise a reasonable doubt. The only logical conclusion is that they didn't try to raise a reasonable doubt because they didn't think they would be able to.
Think about that for a minute...
The defense clearly believed it was futile to try to create a reasonable doubt that Olofson might not have been the one who installed the M-16 parts in the gun and did the other internal mods.
Instead, they chose to focus on trying to convince the court that the gun was simply malfunctioning, a much weaker strategy, but apparently the strongest defense they felt they could muster given the circumstances of the case.
BIG DAWG #4
Liberal: Someone who is so open-minded their brains have fallen out.
Guns are not dangerous, people are.
Last edited by Jerry; 11-26-2011 at 10:15..