David loaned his gun to a friend, who brought it to a local rifle range. During his session, the friend moved the safety switch past the 'fire' position and fired. The M-16 has three positions, safe, single shot, & three round burst. The AR-15 has two positions, safe and fire. The gun fired several short bursts of multiple rounds, then jammed. Obviously this was a malfunction of the weapon, as an AR-15 is not designed for multiple shots. However, someone near the range called the police and reported machine-gun fire. The ATF got involved and found that the weapon was NOT modified by Olofson or his friend. Obviously the ATF and the prosecutor felt that they could not charge him with the modification of the weapon as there were none, so instead they charged him with the illegal transfer of a machine gun. Considering there was no transfer, other than a loan, I'm not sure exactly how that even flew, but the prosecutor brought the case and he was convicted. Now David Olofson sits in a federal penitentiary awaiting an appeal.
My first irritation with this entire case is the obvious stupidity of the prosecution. I can understand that someone may be prosecuted for the malfunction of a piece of equipment that they own. If my brakes fail and I plow into a crowd of people, killing someone, I would understand that I may be charged with involuntary manslaughter or something in that category. But in 95% of cases, there is no prosecution because there was no malice in the action. If everything else in the situation was legal (I wasn't speeding, driving recklessly, and made every effort to avoid the crowd), prosecution will usually pass on the case. In this case, they went for the throat.
My second irritation with this case is that the NRA is being gutless. Their lack of backing in this case confirms exactly what I've suspected for some time, that they are interested more in political power than actually standing up for gun owners. If they were to back Olofson and lose, they'd lose face and power. Gun Owners of America are backing Olofson and I predict will gain members as a result.
I wrote the following letter to the NRA via their website. I don't expect an answer, since oftentimes when an organization shows their true colors they don't want to respond, but we'll see. I urge anyone who reads this and agrees with me to send their own email and ensure that the NRA understands that their members and supporters are pissed.
Why is the NRA not jumping into the David Olofson case in Wisconsin with both feet? What seems to be the issue that would keep the NRA from backing him wholeheartedly? Afraid of Obama? Afraid that if he is let out, some sort of legislation will result?
The NRA I used to belong to had no qualms with backing ordinary citizens like David Olofson with their considerable legal and financial power.
What has happened?
I'm truly disappointed with you, first the McCain endorsement and now this. I don't see a reason that I'll ever belong to the NRA again. If you don't back law-abdiding gun owners, what the hell are you here for?
I received a response, quite soon after emailing the NRA. I said I'd post it, so here it is:
So, perhaps I was hasty, merely taking the word of a talking head, rather than going to the NRA directly and checking with them. Mea Culpa
Thank you for your email to the NRA-ILA regarding the Olofson case. NRA has and will continue to assist Olofson counsel in this and similar cases. As is common practice, NRA seldom publicly discusses our involvement in active criminal cases, to avoid prejudicing the defendant's case.
The fact that the defendant or his attorney may want to discuss our involvement does not alter our policy in this regard. If you have further questions or need more information, please contact us at (800) 392-8683. We appreciate your support.
NRA-ILA Grassroots Division
Thanks to Dr. Ken for the inspiration. Additionally, here's a bit more info for those of you who refuse to read stuff that I've linked. Let's let Lou Dobbs break it down for you: