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Posted: 8/19/2005 6:53:17 AM EDT
Failing the Test

Link

David Codrea

“It’s extremely irresponsible and most likely actionable negligence,” Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney Monroe Whitesides tells me.

The Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law is talking about BATFE’s treatment of competition shooter John Glover, who had seven firearms seized and was indicted for manufacturing an illegal machinegun. If convicted, Glover was in danger of federal prison.


As part of his investigation, Whitesides accompanied firearms expert Len Savage, of Historic Arms LLC, to the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s firing range. There, BATFE Agent Michael Cooney, who wrote the report declaring one of the seized rifles fired “automatically,” set out to prove it on videotape.


The problem was, the FN-FAL wouldn’t cooperate. Out of 12 taped tests, Cooney achieved a “string fire” of three-round bursts in only two.


What was happening, Savage explains, was “a malfunction. The cause was a worn firing pin retainer, and a broken firing pin spring. The firing pin could fly forward under its own inertia, because the spring that held it back was broken, and impact the primer just by chambering a round.”


Whitesides recalls Savage advising him and others present to move back when Cooney continued firing.


“I did warn everyone back after the first light strike,” Savage confirms. “It was very dangerous to continue. If it ever ignited the cartridge before the bolt fully locked in position, it would have been a catastrophic failure.”


Not to be deterred, the increasingly defensive Cooney proceeded, oblivious to the danger. His theory, Savage continues, was “that the locking plate in the lower receiver — that was missing metal — allowed the hammer to travel further forward than is normal.”
“The truth is, when assembled as a complete firearm, the hammer can never go any further forward than the bolt carrier assembly. It collides with it.”


“Len told me,” Whitesides reveals, “that the access locking plate had as much to do with firing automatic as the sight on the end of the barrel. Cooney’s not a technician, he’s an enforcement officer.”


Cooney admitted that he had never even disassembled and inspected the rifle, but had written his report based on test-firing the weapon. Savage then disassembled it on camera, displaying the broken parts, as the BATFE agent fell silent, looking increasingly embarrassed.
As he should. He almost destroyed a man’s life, and he didn’t even know what he was doing.


“The prosecutor dropped all charges when I filed motions that would have shown a Federal Judge the tape and the real reasons for the multiple firings,” Whitesides says.


“The video has opened some eyes to the treachery of the enforcement of the laws that make police state activities ‘legal,’” Aaron Zelman of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership adds.


Zelman has produced copies of the video, titled BATFE Fails the Test, to help educate gun owners about a danger we all could face: Own a malfunctioning weapon, go to prison. Glover had to mortgage his house, and BATFE has, at this writing, still not returned his confiscated property.


To obtain a copy of BATFE Fails the Test, visit www.jpfo.org.


Link Posted: 8/19/2005 6:55:55 AM EDT


a worthless agency.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 6:56:09 AM EDT
How did the ATF know about it in the first place?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 6:59:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:
How did the ATF know about it in the first place?



My question exactly.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:00:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:02:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TacticalStrat:

What was happening, Savage explains, was “a malfunction. The cause was a worn firing pin retainer, and a broken firing pin spring. The firing pin could fly forward under its own inertia, because the spring that held it back was broken, and impact the primer just by chambering a round.”

Cooney admitted that he had never even disassembled and inspected the rifle, but had written his report based on test-firing the weapon. Savage then disassembled it on camera, displaying the broken parts, as the BATFE agent fell silent, looking increasingly embarrassed.
As he should. He almost destroyed a man’s life, and he didn’t even know what he was doing.





Why don't they hire people who (or train), you know, KNOW something about guns?

If I'd seen that at the range, my first comment would've been "buddy if that isn't supposed to be FA something's broken in there that could be very bad."


Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:03:42 AM EDT
makes me scared to try bumpfiring
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:04:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:


Why don't they hire people who (or train), you know, KNOW something about guns?





Why bother?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:08:07 AM EDT
Who else was rooting for "catastrophic failure" as Mr. JBT was firing the weapon?

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:09:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gunner1X:

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:
How did the ATF know about it in the first place?



My question exactly.




I'll bet he was firing the gun in a match or at the range, and it slam fired a few rounds. Someone witnessed it (maybe a cop) and called the ATF
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:10:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:
Who else was rooting for "catastrophic failure" as Mr. JBT was firing the weapon?





I was. Am I a bad person?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:11:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:12:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:


a worthless agency.



And now I will refer back to my thread about the BATFE harassing gun buyers at a Virginia gun show, which many people have called BS.

Now I ask you:

If the BATFE is bent on declaring a malfunctioning firearm a machine gun, what on earth makes anyone think they wouldn't conduct "surveys" of gun buyer's homes????
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:13:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TacticalStrat:

Originally Posted By Gunner1X:

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:
How did the ATF know about it in the first place?



My question exactly.




I'll bet he was firing the gun in a match or at the range, and it slam fired a few rounds. Someone witnessed it (maybe a cop) and called the ATF

Even then, it's idiocy to pursue, hell, I've had a 1911 go auto on me before at a match! Talk about OH SHIT! Guess I'm lucky noone cared other than to make sure I still had my hand!
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:13:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:14:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By Spade:


Why don't they hire people who (or train), you know, KNOW something about guns?





Why bother?



Guess their job is to ruin people's lives!
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:14:55 AM EDT
I've got a copy of the video, from JPFO. They used a half-dozen or more types of ammo and IIRC only one (maybe 2) would string-fire. The primers had to be sensitive enough to be touched off by the light strike. When they disassembled the rifle, they found a bazillion pieces of the firing pin spring.

It gives great insight into the mentality of these jackasses. Your government at work. Oh, and the JBT did insist that the condition was caused by the worn locking plate, which in itself would prevent a finding that the FA fire was caused by a design, redesign, manufacture or remanufacture. The most interesting thing to me was the JBT's attitude, which was a complete disavowal of personal responsibility: "I just test-fire them. It fired FA. I just report my findings." He forgot to say "I was just following orders." I hope he roasts in Hell.

Last I heard, the guns haven't been returned.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:16:03 AM EDT
Why does this organization even exist?
Why doesn't Bush put someone in charge who is pro-2nd amendment?

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:20:39 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:27:56 AM EDT


makes you wonder how many people are doing time or have otherwise had their lives ruined by someone who was "just filing the report"...


Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:29:09 AM EDT
About 20 years ago I owned a business and had about 10 preban assault rifles (AR15's, FAL, Valmet, Galil etc.) hanging on the wall in my office. I guess someone told the ATF that I had "Machineguns" in my office. One morning when I get to work, there are two ATF agents and a sheriff deputy waiting for me. They told me they had a report that I owned machineguns and they wanted to talk to me. I said sure and I'll be glad to show you guys the guns. So we go in my office and all the guns are hanging there. I explain to them that they are all semi-autos. They asked if they could inspect them. I say it's ok. Here's what they did to confirm whether the guns were machineguns or not. They check to see if the selector rotated to where the auto position would be. Then (w/ selector in the semi position) they cycled the bolt by hand while holding the trigger to see if the hammer either and I quote "follow the bolt home or snapped when the bolt locked". They did not ask to look inside or disassemble any of the guns. BTW, they also measured the barrel on a Ithaca Riot shotgun I had. They said everything looks OK and left.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:30:57 AM EDT
I for one am glad that "catastrophic failure" did not occur. It would have given the agency reason to accuse John Glover of manufacturing a bomb. And as critical parts of the gun would be damaged or destroyed, it would be impossible for John to prove that the gun was just malfunctioning. It's just another example of a government agency gone bad.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:31:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BookHound:
At the very least the BATFE should have to reimburse that guy's expenses.


Yeah, I won't hold my breath.




Sadly, the world is filled with incompetent morons that have power over others.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:32:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 7:34:16 AM EDT by PBIR]

Cooney admitted that he had never even disassembled and inspected the rifle, but had written his report based on test-firing the weapon. Savage then disassembled it on camera, displaying the broken parts, as the BATFE agent fell silent, looking increasingly embarrassed.
As he should. He almost destroyed a man’s life, and he didn’t even know what he was doing.



Happens too often in this country for my taste. I hope if Agent Cooney is still employed as an agent he has learned a lesson that will stay with him for the rest of his life. The BATF should make him do lectures to prevent more incidents like this one.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:34:25 AM EDT
Wow waste my fucking money arresting harmless shooters. I bet I could find 10 times as many gang bangers and dealers with illegal guns each day. What the hell is going on with the ATF?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:35:42 AM EDT
Scary stuff, my friend's FAL did the same thing at an indoor range it scared the shit out of him.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:36:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 7:44:23 AM EDT by EricTheHun]
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:41:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 7:42:31 AM EDT by bfieldburt]

Originally Posted By BigB1129:
Wow waste my fucking money arresting harmless shooters. I bet I could find 10 times as many gang bangers and dealers with illegal guns each day. What the hell is going on with the ATF?



It's hard going after gang bangers. It's easy harrassing innocent citizens.

Same pay, lot easier work.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:42:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bullyforyou:

makes you wonder how many people are doing time or have otherwise had their lives ruined by someone who was "just filing the report"...




There is nothing to wonder about. This man just got lucky. I fucking hate them, nothing more than a building full of empowered assholes looking to find a reason to put any gun owner they desire to in jail. Nothing has come along to make me change that opinion. The shell game of "ATF rulings" is just a snare trap waiting for some poor shmuck to step in it.

Of course these ever-changing "rules" are only used to go after drug dealers and smugglers is what I hear.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:43:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 7:45:40 AM EDT by EricTheHun]
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:46:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By EricTheHun:

Originally Posted By BookHound:
At the very least the BATFE should have to reimburse that guy's expenses.

Yeah, I won't hold my breath.


Under the FOPA of 1986, you know, the one that is always criticized by the uninformed, as 'Reagan banning our machine guns', his expenses are recoverable.

I'm certain Mr. Whitesides, his attorney, knows this.....

And the weapons MUST be returned within 90 days AFTER they are impounded IF no charges are going to be filed.

Again, according to the FOPA of 1986.

Eric The(BeenThere,DoneThat)Hun



So he just must not want them back huh? I mean after all if he did they'd have to return them and since they aren't returned he must not have asked.

Makeing an agency do what the law says it has to can be so expensive that in effect you can't do it.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 7:51:06 AM EDT
This can't be true.


Our good friends BoreSighted and Quien have told us that the guys at the ATF are great ... gun-nuts just like us. BoreSighted even had them over to his house to inspect his collection, and "it was great."

I can't believe they would do such a thing.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:00:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
This can't be true.


Our good friends BoreSighted and Quien have told us that the guys at the ATF are great ... gun-nuts just like us. BoreSighted even had them over to his house to inspect his collection, and "it was great."

I can't believe they would do such a thing.




I am sure that within the BATFE there are some truly wonderful people who do a superb job.

There remains, however, enough of this BS floating around to demonstrate that there is an institutional problem within the organization that needs to be dealt with. Just as the Chicago PD has some fine people working for it, but the leadership is absolutely stupid on a lot of stuff, and the organization will not be fixed until the idiots are put where idiots can do no harm.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:07:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

I am sure that within the BATFE there are some truly wonderful people who do a superb job.

There remains, however, enough of this BS floating around to demonstrate that there is an institutional problem within the organization that needs to be dealt with. Just as the Chicago PD has some fine people working for it, but the leadership is absolutely stupid on a lot of stuff, and the organization will not be fixed until the idiots are put where idiots can do no harm.



I suppose you are correct, but as you said.... it seems to me as a whole the agency is broken. When some poor dude at a range with a slam fire becomes your target, and the men assigned know nothing of what they speak, there is something grossly wrong. That man nearly served a serious term in federal prison because of ineptitude.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:10:42 AM EDT
Yer expecting ATF to know anything about guns?

Pfffffff.

They only know about television cameras.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:12:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

I am sure that within the BATFE there are some truly wonderful people who do a superb job.

There remains, however, enough of this BS floating around to demonstrate that there is an institutional problem within the organization that needs to be dealt with. Just as the Chicago PD has some fine people working for it, but the leadership is absolutely stupid on a lot of stuff, and the organization will not be fixed until the idiots are put where idiots can do no harm.



Bingo! I think a lot of it derives from the nature of the mission. BATFE is a tax enforcement agency. Its criminal cases are 100% malum prohibitum. There is not even a coherent argument to be made that the objects of it efforts are actually or potentially harmful in themselves (which can be said of drugs). They want to be a "normal" law enforcement agency, but what they do is has as much to with "real" crime as if they were the Bureau of Carbonated Beverages, Skin Lotion, Refrigerators, and Batteries. They are in a very real sense a solution in search of a problem, and their institutional attitude reflects a desire to compensate for the inherent silliness of their mission. When you deal with them personally, they are alternately defensive and bullying.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:21:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:
How did the ATF know about it in the first place?



some "I only shoot my gun (note it's singular) once a year. I put 2 rounds through it the week before deer season to sight it in" butt fuck at the range probably called the feds
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:21:43 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:23:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Grunteled:
I suppose you are correct, but as you said.... it seems to me as a whole the agency is broken. When some poor dude at a range with a slam fire becomes your target, and the men assigned know nothing of what they speak, there is something grossly wrong. That man nearly served a serious term in federal prison because of ineptitude.



Precisely.

There are systemic problems at the BATFE that need to be resolved.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:24:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:25:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TacticalStrat:
About 20 years ago I owned a business and had about 10 preban assault rifles (AR15's, FAL, Valmet, Galil etc.) hanging on the wall in my office. I guess someone told the ATF that I had "Machineguns" in my office. One morning when I get to work, there are two ATF agents and a sheriff deputy waiting for me. They told me they had a report that I owned machineguns and they wanted to talk to me. I said sure and I'll be glad to show you guys the guns. So we go in my office and all the guns are hanging there. I explain to them that they are all semi-autos. They asked if they could inspect them. I say it's ok. Here's what they did to confirm whether the guns were machineguns or not. They check to see if the selector rotated to where the auto position would be. Then (w/ selector in the semi position) they cycled the bolt by hand while holding the trigger to see if the hammer either and I quote "follow the bolt home or snapped when the bolt locked". They did not ask to look inside or disassemble any of the guns. BTW, they also measured the barrel on a Ithaca Riot shotgun I had. They said everything looks OK and left.


Did they have a search warrant?
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:29:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MachinegunManiac:

Originally Posted By TacticalStrat:
About 20 years ago I owned a business and had about 10 preban assault rifles (AR15's, FAL, Valmet, Galil etc.) hanging on the wall in my office. I guess someone told the ATF that I had "Machineguns" in my office. One morning when I get to work, there are two ATF agents and a sheriff deputy waiting for me. They told me they had a report that I owned machineguns and they wanted to talk to me. I said sure and I'll be glad to show you guys the guns. So we go in my office and all the guns are hanging there. I explain to them that they are all semi-autos. They asked if they could inspect them. I say it's ok. Here's what they did to confirm whether the guns were machineguns or not. They check to see if the selector rotated to where the auto position would be. Then (w/ selector in the semi position) they cycled the bolt by hand while holding the trigger to see if the hammer either and I quote "follow the bolt home or snapped when the bolt locked". They did not ask to look inside or disassemble any of the guns. BTW, they also measured the barrel on a Ithaca Riot shotgun I had. They said everything looks OK and left.


Did they have a search warrant?




No.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:30:03 AM EDT
Sad, truly sad.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:30:37 AM EDT
They don't need search warrents around "cooperative" people.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:34:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 8:35:13 AM EDT by EricTheHun]
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:38:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By senorFrog:
Why does this organization even exist?
Why doesn't Bush put someone in charge who is pro-2nd amendment?



Bush has been in office nearly five years, and ATF is still out of control????

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:42:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/19/2005 8:43:06 AM EDT by TacticalStrat]

Originally Posted By EricTheHun:

Originally Posted By Schulze:
They don't need search warrents around "cooperative" people.


Precisely!

Had our friend TacticalStrat simply said, 'No' to the officers, that answer would have been the grounds used for obtaining the search warrant!

Wanna bet?

Eric The(FastAndLooseWithTheBillOfRights)Hun




I think you're right and that's why I cooperated. Why play hardball with the ATF when you have nothing to hide? It was simple, just show them the guns are semi, and they left and I never heard from them again. I could have been a dick and said "get a fooking warrant ATFtard". That would have likely resulted and a kick down the door search of my house and office. Sometimes the smart approach is not the legal-rights approach.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:43:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By senorFrog:
Why doesn't Bush put someone in charge who is pro-2nd amendment?


I've asked myself that question for over 4 years.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:53:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Originally Posted By senorFrog:
Why doesn't Bush put someone in charge who is pro-2nd amendment?


I've asked myself that question for over 4 years.



Gosh, is it hard to figure that out?

HE'S NOT ON OUR SIDE.

Link Posted: 8/19/2005 8:54:10 AM EDT
It was a GOOD bust! I'm tired of all the Anti ATF sentiment here!
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 9:04:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:
Who else was rooting for "catastrophic failure" as Mr. JBT was firing the weapon?




(excitedly raises hand like a first grader that just figured out the answer to the teachers question)
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