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View Full Version : Will a malfunction lead to a felony?


Solidux
05-12-2012, 9:29 PM
Will a weapons malfunction (ar firing multiple rounds) lead to a felony+jail time? Due to election hyped scare, many people are purchasing/building ARs. One common question that never has a straight answer is regarding malfunctions.

I tried google, and it seems the government will bring hell to your doorstep if you do have a malfunction that causes rapid firing of more than 1 round.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M2CJAUFgIM&feature=related
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Olofson

A man went to jail for 30 months due to this. A disturbing issue to me was this :" courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court have since denied David Olofson's appeals."

They didnt even give him a chance it looks like.

Gunsmith Dan
05-12-2012, 10:16 PM
It all depends on what actions you took at the time of the malfunction.

If it malfunctioned and you took the firearm to be repaired and not shoot it anymore until it is fixed you are ok.

If it malfunctioned and you go to the range multiple different times to shoot it and keep saying, "dang it I forgot to take it to get fixed again", you might be in trouble.

If it malfunctioned and you tell other people, "wow how cool I will not fix it because I don't want it to work normally", most likely you going to jail.

WTSGDYBBR
05-12-2012, 10:19 PM
If someone had a bad day you could be beaten to death. Anything could happen depending on someone mood.

Solidux
05-12-2012, 10:22 PM
It all depends on what actions you took at the time of the malfunction.

If it malfunctioned and you took the firearm to be repaired and not shoot it anymore until it is fixed you are ok.

If it malfunctioned and you go to the range multiple different times to shoot it and keep saying, "dang it I forgot to take it to get fixed again", you might be in trouble.

If it malfunctioned and you tell other people, "wow how cool I will not fix it because I don't want it to work normally", most likely you going to jail.

That david olofson guy didnt have a chance to do any of the above.

NoHeavyHitter
05-12-2012, 10:31 PM
That david olofson guy didnt have a chance to do any of the above.

He sure got the chance to go to jail.

Ron-Solo
05-12-2012, 10:39 PM
Dont fall for the hype. Olafson had plenty of chances. That was not the first time his rifle "malfunctioned".

He also used M-16 full auto parts in his rifle, including the hammer and selector.

Use standard AR parts, not used M-16 parts and you will be ok.

SilverTauron
05-13-2012, 4:19 AM
As far as the ATF is concerned, an unregistered full auto firearm is defined as a weapon which fires multiple times with one pull of the trigger. Period.

This has unfortunate implications for people with 1911s that have sear issues(read going full auto on slide release),among other guns which can malfunction into full-auto state. Is it likely that someone will be jailed if their Springfield Armory handgun goes into happy mode? Id say no. That said ol Mr. Murphy can show up at unpleasant times, and if the anti-gun authorities for whatever reason decide to "send a message" a malfunctioning full auto gun can still be prosecuted as a violation of the NFA with attendent penalties. It doesn't mean the case will prevail, necessarily, but its still not a good place to be.

Bottom line, a new sear or firing pin is much cheaper than paying a defense lawyer for billable hours in Federal Court. Not that my firearms are likely to fail in this manner, but if mine did fail in this manner I'd get it to a gunsmith ASAP, as in go directly to the gunny from the firing line.

OldShooter32
05-13-2012, 5:27 AM
I had a new-to-me M1 give me a three-round burst during rapid fire stage. Disconcerting, but I wasn't taken away in handcuffs (the "5" and "M" we're punishment enough)
I replaced the hammer though, since I suspect a little too much "hone work" was done on it to "fix" the trigger pull.
How you react (and the circumstances around the "malfunction") go a long way in establishing criminal intent.

ptoguy2002
05-13-2012, 6:58 AM
Dont fall for the hype. Olafson had plenty of chances. That was not the first time his rifle "malfunctioned".

He also used M-16 full auto parts in his rifle, including the hammer and selector.

Use standard AR parts, not used M-16 parts and you will be ok.
IIRC, the original MFG of the rifle built it with M-16 parts. Court didn't allow that into evidence. Dont know about the selector though.
Many current rifles come with an M-16 hammer.

IVC
05-13-2012, 7:58 AM
As far as the ATF is concerned, an unregistered full auto firearm is defined as a weapon which fires multiple times with one pull of the trigger. Period.

The burden of proof is still on the DA. Even if they take the offending firearm and test it at a later time, it doesn't prove it had been full auto during the initial incident, i.e., that the burst was due to a single trigger pull and not several consecutive pulls, e.g., bump fire.

Now, if one has M16 parts in an AR15 platform and shows a pattern of behavior, then there is the intent which the DA can prove.

So, it's not nearly as black-and-white as looking at the definition of the full auto. If you have a malfunction, stop what you're doing, leave, fix it. And don't use parts that would "encourage" this type of malfunction.

B Strong
05-13-2012, 9:20 AM
That david olofson guy didnt have a chance to do any of the above.



Yes, he did, and loaning a malfunctioning firearm to an individual for the purpose of using it on the range is what led to his conviction - not the actual state of malfunction.

If you experience a malfunction of "doubling" or whatever involving more than one round per sqeeze of the trigger, cease and desist, strip the upper from the lower and correct the problem asap - no worries.

Leave the rifle as is, take your chances.

bwiese
05-13-2012, 9:28 AM
B Strong has it..

... if you have a problem gun:



cease & desist using it
don't try to sell it
take it apart. (Hell, if I were certain FCG parts caused it
I'd throw away the FCG parts immediately and order new).

littlejake
05-13-2012, 9:41 AM
There was a time in the 1980s when the ATF Technical branch was taking semi autos and trying to make them double. They published a memo that in effect banned AR rifles from having any of 6 military parts. (Bolt Carrier, Trigger, Sear, Selector, Hammer, Disconnector)

I understand from Bill Wiese that certain of those parts are now allowed.

(Of course an auto sear was never allowed in a CA.)

Yeah, I jacked the thread a little -- point is, they can always find a way to pop you for a malfunction if they so choose.

Gunsmith Dan
05-14-2012, 12:00 AM
LIke I said above depends on what you do when you discover the malfunction.

Heck there is a very popular .22 rifle out there that has a very well document issue with going into burst mode and as the part wears out more into full auto mode (in fact way to easy for this to happen).

Just stop using the firearm and get it fixed the first time the malfunction happens, under any law in the U.S. you could not be CONVICTED just for that. The government charging you and taking you to court is a whole other matter though.

johnny1290
05-14-2012, 12:58 AM
I like the idea of tossing those fire control parts and replacing everything.

Not for a second is it worth taking any chances with a felony.

Kid Stanislaus
05-14-2012, 7:47 PM
If someone had a bad day you could be beaten to death. Anything could happen depending on someone mood.


You're actually a Bhuddist monk, admit it.:rolleyes:

Kid Stanislaus
05-14-2012, 7:54 PM
I like the idea of tossing those fire control parts and replacing everything. Not for a second is it worth taking any chances with a felony.

I'm with you on this Johnny, the notion of having to spend a few years in a cell with a large guy who'se in love with me is not at all appealing!:D

Sheepdog1968
05-14-2012, 9:35 PM
This is one of many reasons I prefer to use gunsmiths and buy finished firearms. It justs add another layer of potential protection.

DoomeD
05-14-2012, 9:46 PM
Kiernicki testified that Olofson had told Kiernicki that the third position of the rifle's firing selector was for automatic firing, but it jammed, court records indicate. He also testified Olofson told him he had fired the weapon on the automatic setting at that same range without a problem.[3]

Doesnt sound like he did a thing to fix it. I know I am noob and everything but it is right there in the 2nd link you provided.

Dreaded Claymore
05-15-2012, 12:47 AM
Many current rifles come with an M-16 hammer.

Pics or it didn't happen. I've never seen a rifle sold as semi-auto only but with the hook on the back of the hammer.

ptoguy2002
05-15-2012, 6:41 AM
Pics or it didn't happen. I've never seen a rifle sold as semi-auto only but with the hook on the back of the hammer.
Well I'm sorry I don't have pics, but I can tell you for sure that the HK MR556 does, and at least one of the new Colt models did. Don't have one, but I've read that the Colt 9mm carbines came with the full auto hammer too. Maybe "some" should have been used instead of "many," but there are at least 3 models that do.

ETA: found a pic:

http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/279156910.jpg?key=700563&Expires=1337093477&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIYVGSUJFNRFZBBTA&Signature=er9OgQ-Y-H3KDPw~C~yKUnpq7S7g0pa~~elNOZBRX0WSe4S02sQ5SWvh5tj Dve2YxKzvNpq1-K79lJq1kKqJS5AMyK5RnfVMPGbmkcxJ24vwxezymJ12TuvpR5u MsvKh9NIIdzT2Mc5XZABESF4x3dK1m~4EuNNZi-j2xMspw2Q_

-hanko
05-15-2012, 6:48 AM
It's a Darwin thing...

If you're too ignorant to perform your own function check, you take it to a smith.

Too ignorant to do that, stupid prizes might be yours. :eek:

Much info on the web to check function...should be no questions or excuses.

-hanko

INDABZ
05-15-2012, 2:44 PM
Tis TRU....the COLT 9mm AR does have a the Hammer( I just looked at mine)....an most if not all New COLT rifles have the carrier....

Now.....any other stuff is just asking for trouble....

If it malfunctions....get it fixed ASAP....word to the wise.....

Uxi
05-15-2012, 3:27 PM
Another reason the NFA is BS

jwkincal
05-15-2012, 3:52 PM
It's a Darwin thing...

If you're too ignorant to perform your own function check, you take it to a smith.

Too ignorant to do that, stupid prizes might be yours. :eek:

Much info on the web to check function...should be no questions or excuses.

-hanko

I was once issued an M-16 for which the function check was not an accurate predictor of what the rifle would do when actually fed ammunition. Said malfunction thus resulting in an extended row with the Company Armorer, whom did not deign to fix the rifle. Lucky for yours truly, the SMaj, who was tabbed-out right-shoulder SF guy, happened to notice the problem just walking by whilst I was doing maintenance. He borrowed a pair of needle-nose pliers and fixed it in 10 seconds.

Having said that, if your AR-pattern rifle discharges more than one round upon a single squeeze of the trigger (pro tip: it will be two); you had better get thee to thy gunsmith post haste.

Uxi
05-15-2012, 3:54 PM
He also used M-16 full auto parts in his rifle, including the hammer and selector.


Was he using parts from the M16A1 or M16A3 or were they really M4A1 parts? Or were they "burst" parts?

Dreaded Claymore
05-15-2012, 9:14 PM
Was he using parts from the M16A1 or M16A3 or were they really M4A1 parts? Or were they "burst" parts?

Are those different from each other?

lhecker51
05-15-2012, 9:46 PM
Will a weapons malfunction (ar firing multiple rounds) lead to a felony+jail time? Due to election hyped scare, many people are purchasing/building ARs. One common question that never has a straight answer is regarding malfunctions.

I tried google, and it seems the government will bring hell to your doorstep if you do have a malfunction that causes rapid firing of more than 1 round.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M2CJAUFgIM&feature=related
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Olofson

A man went to jail for 30 months due to this. A disturbing issue to me was this :" courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court have since denied David Olofson's appeals."

They didnt even give him a chance it looks like.

You answered your own question. Yes it sucks and the SCOTUS will not even hear his case.

johnny1290
05-16-2012, 7:23 AM
FWIW I worked with a rich guy that got arrested for FA. Lucky for him he could afford a good attorney and to pay something like 60 grand in fines.

He lost his firearm collection, his right to vote, and a few years he spent in prison. Just so he could own some rifles he shot maybe twice a year instead of paying to use someone else's and stay out of trouble.

Dumb.

HBrebel
05-16-2012, 4:47 PM
If someone had a bad day you could be beaten to death. Anything could happen depending on someone mood.

yep. Here in CA you run into the wrong cops on the wrong day and they will kill you. Kelly Thomas was murdered by Fullerton cops for standing there disobeying them. Take no chances unless you are ready to rumble