Originally Posted By FlaDevmeister:
I had a not too dissimilar incident back about 12 years ago, right after I turned 21. I bought an Olympic Arms M-4 copy that was used from a local gunshop that I had been used to doing a lot of business with and I trusted. Back then, the Clinton AWB is in effect so the only M-4 you could buy was a used one produced before Sept, 1994. I knew next to nothing about AR's back then and didn't realize this rifle would be considered a machine gun via ATF. The selector had a third position (although, it was only marked safe and fire with no designation for full) but had no internal parts to render it full auto. It had a semi-only FCG but with the auto rotating selector only. Obviously, it wouldn't fire in full-auto mode. It would load one round and the hammer would follow the bolt assembly so that you had to manually cock it every time you shot it.
I had only shot it twice and verified it wouldn't function properly in full-auto, which it clearly would not. I figured I was in the clear. WRONG! Not long after, the buttstock came loose and I took it to a different local gun shop that said they could fix it. While there, the ATF made one of their regular friendly rounds to inspect inventory. "Full-auto selector, must be a machinegun". Typical ATF logic.
They showed up at my house, knew EVERYTHING about me, inspected all my other guns (which were all legally owned as well), and generally scared the living shit out of me. During the course of the next year and a half they subjected me to polygraphs at their local headquarters (which I promise will rattle you to the point where it will take years off your life), bugged my phones, made me wear a wire to try and catch the gun dealer admitting to wrong-doing (which turned out later on, he had been taking hot guns off the street and reselling them, eventually losing his FFL), and generally made my life hell. While I passed the polygraphs, the US Attorney decided to indict me anyway. My lawyer called me to notify me that he'd asked the US Attorney to let him surrender me but that they would probably end up sending a Federal SWAT team to pick me up. I saw a different lawyer that day through connections I had that specialized in criminal. Old lawyer fired, new one hired. I'm now back a total of $15,000 in legal fees, not including the $1500 rifle I lost.
My new lawyer knew they had no case. They were saying 10-15 in Federal Prison before but renegotiated to 1 year probation as a result of my new lawyer. Told them to stuff their offer. They dicked around for a total of 7 years when Statute of Limitations wore out. This all started when I was 21 and living with my mom and dad. At the time, I was a pizza man for a living that just happened to have gun collecting as a hobby, as I still do. I had other hobbies too like snowboarding, music, and drawing. This was 7 long year of my life and I've never spoken publically about this before. I still sleep with one eye open and am still a little paranoid in some ways as a result.
Let this be a lesson to anyone who reads this. You can infract some kind of law you never knew existed and can still end up with your ass in a major sling, through no fault of your own. Remember that you'd be one person going up against the weight of the Federal Government and let me tell you, as incompetent as I realized those guys were I also found out just how scary they were too. I should note that the gun was supposedly sent to ATF HQ in Washington and was tested on a range and verified by agents to fire full-auto. That should also be a warning to you as they don't necesarilly have to be right. They can just as easily falsify evidence against you and should you find yourself in Federal Court it's your word against them.......in which case, YOU WILL LOSE.
Olympic arms is a horrible company. They were selling many rifles with full auto parts in the 80's.