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Scoot update – 2

I lied, this is the last update: Just so we’re clear, the update below is not to say that what happened to Scoot is right (I don’t think it is) but that the felony thing really isn’t good in terms of a victory for gun rights or reigning in ATF problems. I’m not mad at Scoot. I still support him and will do what I can to help. A felony at 18 does not make one any less of a person and reform is possible. Not all felonies are equal and conviction of a crime stripping the right to defense forever for sometimes minor incidents isn’t good.

In this case, his only crime is that he committed a crime 9 years ago.

Last Update:

In comments, KNS reporter Jamie Satterfield writes:

I cover the courts for the News Sentinel. I have checked out this case after being notified by Mike Silence of blog interest. Although I will be reporting on it next week, court records show the person at issue was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms that included two rifles, a shotgun and a loaded .45-caliber pistol. He was not charged with the “assorted gun parts” the ATF agent wrote in his affidavit that he found in the gentleman’s basement. Stay tuned to the Sentinel next week when I will write about his court appearance.

I’ve had some private correspondence with her regarding the situation and she basically read to me right from the database the felony info. Convicted felons can’t own guns and thems the rules. That said, I think the ATF went for the MG. Then manufacturing. Then, finally, the felon thing would stick. It was a fishing expedition and, unfortunately, they dug deep enough. That’s all assuming the other info that was being given to me was correct. But something don’t seem right as most felons don’t have custody of their kids.

I tried to help a friend by getting the word out. It didn’t work because the ATF dug deep enough and because it was there to find. Felony possession is a big no-no.

Any way, I feel like a bag of dicks for bringing all this up, though I did so based how it was presented to me. I wasted everyone’s time. In short, I blew it due to information I did not have.

Sorry, all.

Everyone who donated money, it has been returned. If you have problems, let me know and I’ll make it right. This is not a case where donations will help much.
_____________________________________________________
Programming note: Instead of multiple posts, I’ll put any of today’s updates here. Check back.

Very likely today’s last update: Thanks to a reader, I have put Scoot’s family into contact with gun rights attorney of some reputation (no names for now, apologies). They’ve been in contact and the attorney is calling some local muscle. Will let you know more when I have it.
_____________________________________________________
9: Major update:

They’re holding him until a hearing on 3/28, which oddly coincides with ATF abuse hearings. They seem to have dropped the machine gun angle and are going for the manufacturing without a license angle. No mention of MGs on the paperwork, according to his girlfriend. They took: drawings, guns, parts, gun magazines, magazines that you read, books, his computers, his Wal-Mart WWB ammo, tools, digital camera, his pull along trailer, and his address book. Some of those don’t seem consistent with gun crimes, if you ask me. They stated he had drawings, precision milling machines, aluminum blocks, and was operating as a manufacturer.

Guess the good news is the MG charges are gone.
_____________________________________________________

Background here and here. Just talked to his girlfriend. And the updates are:

He has been arrested

A hearing is scheduled this afternoon

They took his guns, some books, and drawings he had

They’ve been there all night

They are currently taking his milling machine

They keep telling his girlfriend You know he was making machine guns, right? Which he was not. He was finishing up some 0% lower receiver castings for semi-auto AR-15s, which is a lawful activity.

When it comes to gun laws, gun enthusiasts do act at their own peril.

Update: My scientific wild ass guess is they’re going for the constructive possession angle. Their prosecution, if it gets that far, will go something like:

He has parts (none of which are full auto, by the way);

He has books;

He has a milling machine;

In a random number of hours, he could possibly assemble a machine gun.

Update 2: Thanks to a reader, I have been put in contact with a gun rights attorney who is interested in the case.

Update 3: Got an in with some gun rights activists. Looks promising, I’ll let you know. If the latter does not work out, I may set up a fund. I was also told there’s a small and pricey legal industry that specifically caters to addressing issues with the ATF. I will put Scoot into contact with some of these folks once I hear he has been released.

Update 4: And his local legal counsel is apparently on the scene, making calls and doing what they do. The folks mentioned in Update 3 told me that’s good but he’ll eventually need someone with firearms law expertise.

5: A gun rights attorney has told me there is particular interest in this case because Tennessee apparently has a high number of reported ATF abuses. I found that quite interesting. I think it may be the result of Tennessee being a fairly gun-friendly state.

6: A few more thoughts:

Regarding the fact this was initiated by his ex (whom he has confided in me in the past that she has threatened to call the police on him for his guns), why is the word of an estrange ex considered probable cause or reasonable?

And Rob Huddleston opines:

Guys like Scoot and SayUncle have knowingly raised their profile through their Internet presence. They know they are subject to increased scrutiny, and they tend to act cautiously because of that.

Indeed we do. But that doesn’t seem to matter when someone with an axe to grind lies about you to the authorities. I get regular visits to this site from hosts whose names end in .gov. That is why I particularly note things about complying with the law, such as when I posted a primer on the now defunct assault weapons ban and 922 compliance.

7: Redacted

8: Michael Silence has a round up for one stop shopping on this incident.

49 Responses to “Scoot update – 2”

  1. Sebastian Says:

    Good luck to your friend. It’s a sad day when gun owners have to worry about owning books and a milling machine.

  2. Bitter B. Says:

    I wish him luck. This kind of abuse is insane.

  3. Standard Mischief Says:

    Hmm, I once told someone that my line in the sand would most definitely be well before when they start recording serial numbers, licensing, and regulating machine tools at the federal level. Better step up and acquire that unregulated assault metal lathe before the feds drop their dragnet.

    from Wikipedia:

    Constructive possession is a legal fiction to describe a situation where an individual has actual control over chattels or real property without actually having physical control of the same assets. At law, a person with constructive possession stands in the same legal position as a person with actual possession.

    For example, if your car is sitting in your driveway, you have physical possession of the car. However, any person with the key has constructive possession, as they may take physical possession at any time without further consent from you.

    Wow, if they go this route, they are really taking the “Constructive” part seriously.

    This legal theory would assure that everybody could potentially make something illegal out of the stuff they have around the house. Cars with airbags become detonators, and common plumbing becomes pipe bombs.

    I suppose anyone with common kitchen equipment, Sudafed, Coleman fuel, and whatever other crap it takes has “Constructive possession” of a meth lab too.

    I have heard of cases where someone had possession of a grease gun parts kit, directions and some stock tubing in the basement was charged with the illegal MG possession, though I thought that was a bunch of crap too.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    This legal theory would assure that everybody could potentially make something illegal out of the stuff they have around the house.

    As I often joke, i have paper towels, some foam and wire mesh. I could assemble those into a suppressor. But I don’t. I just have those things in my house because I need them for other (quite lawful) purposes.

  5. ben Says:

    JFPO will be VERY interested in this. They’re currently looking for people that this has happened to for their full page add on the ATF.

  6. ben Says:

    or is it JPOF? JFPOF? ARgh!

  7. ben Says:

    JPFO is it. Here’s their campaign.

  8. drstrangegun Says:

    They’re *taking* his *mill*?

  9. SayUncle Says:

    They’re *taking* his *mill*?

    Yes. It must be a machine gun, just like shoestrings.

  10. Jay G Says:

    Unc, is there going to be a defense fund set up? I’d like to kick in a few $ if I may.

  11. drstrangegun Says:

    I hope the ATF has deep wallets, because if they move that mill incorrectly, they’ll ruin it.

  12. drstrangegun Says:

    FYI, I don’t know how to make a trackback work yet, but I linked you to DrStrangegun and I’ve also linked you in my private livejournal, which will “hit” a couple hundred folks. The words needs spreading.

  13. SayUncle » Defense fund Says:

    […] « « Scoot update – 2 | Home | […]

  14. David the hypenated American Says:

    I have a pen, which could be used for libel, a computer that could be used for hacking and a can of gas in the garage that could be used for arson.

    Does this mean that a welder, some tritium sights, a mill and a lathe means I’m in danger of making a dirty bomb?

    Seems crazy to me…

  15. Blake Says:

    ARRRGGHHH

    Having seen first hand what the BATF can do, this pisses me off to no end. WHAT THE HELL? They don’t have a warrant, but they show up and camp out at his house??? Prior to the bloody warrant?

    What the hell is wrong with this country when you encourage people to snitch and they’ll have jackboots coming to your door…with just one phone call! Then, you never get to face your accusor!

    I’ll be sending money early next week.

    By the way…he was put in Jail on a Thursday or Friday. Even if he were to be released at some point, he’s going to spend at least the weekend in jail…perhaps one or two weeks. Even if he’s eventually found not-guilty, where is he to go to get a redress of grievances? That time has been taken away from him by OUR government.

  16. Standard Mischief Says:

    Likely BATF abuse pointer

    For the few readers that I have that don’t also read SayUncle….

  17. Citizen Grim Says:

    Lesson: Never date anti-gun women.

  18. Justin Says:

    I wonder the the BATF is currently monitoring your web page (would not surprise me one bit if they were)? You may not want to give out too much legal defense info etc…

  19. Scot Says:

    This is exactly why I keep my gunsmithing nowadays exclusively to muzzle loaders. Of course, if they really wanted to, I expect that the ATF could dig up some moldy old clause from the 1790’s that prevents me from making a certain piece of the sidelock that allows it to be assembled into a working gun lock. Because, you know, my collection of muzzle loaders could start an insurrection!

    Well, okay, I guess if I had them all loaded up, I could probably hold off the ATF until the beer ran out.

  20. Stacy Says:

    BATF has quite a track record of assaulting citizens on what are “constructively” political grounds with a very shaky legal foundation, viz. Randy Weaver, the Branch Davidians, Elian Gonzalez’ family, dozens of others, and now this. The entire bureau should be abolished and its law-enforcement duties turned over to the FBI, which will give them something much closer to the appropriate time and attention.

  21. Lornkanaga Says:

    You wrote:
    “I get regular visits to this site from hosts whose names end in .gov. That is why I particularly note things about complying with the law, such as when I posted a primer on the now defunct assault weapons ban and 922 compliance.”

    Don’t be so paranoid. Most are just gun nuts who enjoy visiting gun blogs sometimes when we get a chance to surf at work.

    I hope everything works out okay with your friend. Things like this *really* burn me. My husband and I both firmly agree with the saying “Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be a convenience store, not a government agency.”

  22. Adam Lawson Says:

    I cannot put into words exactly how angry this makes me. I simply hope the ATF gets the living shit sued out of them. It’s unfortunate the ex-wife won’t have to pay all legal fees when it turns out she was wrong. That would put a smile on my face.

    I hope your friend comes out of this okay. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have lost my temper at the ex-wife over this were I him. I’m certainly glad the “gun lobby”* lawyers are interested in this case.

    * And they wonder why we need lawyers and foundations to protect gun rights…

  23. al Says:

    I’m glad that the gun lobby attorneys are showing an interest. There are/were problems with ATF in Virginia as well. Time to abolish ATF.

    Hope this all works out for your friend and that he ends up with a nice large settlement.

    P.S. I’m one of those at a .gov site. Lornkanaga has it right.

  24. Ninth Stage » Blog Archive » It Can’t Happen Here Says:

    […] Your wrong, it can and has happened here. Say Uncle’s friend has been arrested by the ATF. Ex with axe to grind calls the cops and says friend has machine guns. ATF shows up, kicks him out, gets warrant, calls him back to open doors, confiscates guns and tools and arrests friend. […]

  25. keith Says:

    Get a copy of Entrapment – The BATF In Action by Bill Holmes… find out what will happen to his milling machine and other tools, and how they will twist the story around. Find out how a jury tells the ATF to get screwed.

  26. Jerry Horne Says:

    So , who arrests the ATF folks for having MGs ? It’s not a secret , they keep what they want. Registered or not. HHmmm…is this like the law is the law and the law is obove the law since the law controls the law ?

  27. ttyyy Says:

    Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store chain, not a federal agency.

  28. rosignol Says:

    Wow, if they go this route, they are really taking the “Constructive” part seriously.

    Better hope he doesn’t have a shotgun and a hacksaw on the premises- by that standard, ATF might try to claim he’s got an illegal short-barreled shotgun.

    BTW, Glenn Reynolds has linked to you.

  29. 308Mike Says:

    Boot the BAFTE: http://www.jpfo.org/bootbatfe.htm

  30. Thus I have Spoken » Scoot busted Says:

    […] Read up on it at Say Unkle. […]

  31. Jamie Satterfield Says:

    I cover the courts for the News Sentinel. I have checked out this case after being notified by Mike Silence of blog interest. Although I will be reporting on it next week, court records show the person at issue was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms that included two rifles, a shotgun and a loaded .45-caliber pistol. He was not charged with the “assorted gun parts” the ATF agent wrote in his affidavit that he found in the gentleman’s basement. Stay tuned to the Sentinel next week when I will write about his court appearance.

  32. SayUncle Says:

    Thanks for the info. I was unaware that Scoot was a felon, in fact he stated he wasn’t on the phone. But I have no evidence of that, obviously. His girlfriend read the list of charges to me over the phone and she did not mention anything about felon in possession. I’d find it odd if he is a felon since he has purchased weapons in the past and undergone background checks.

    Where will his court appearance be? I may attend myself, assuming it’s open to the public.

  33. denton Says:

    He should be able to afford the finest of attorneys. The Firearm Owner Protection Act practically grants anyone who has to defend himself under the Gun Control Act, and who wins, attorney fees. See http://www.guncite.com/journals/hardfopa.html and scroll down to “Scope”.

  34. SayUncle » Need some help Says:

    […] Update: See Update here […]

  35. Publicola Says:

    I’ve railed against the “felon in possession” laws before. In fact on my things to post list is an as yet unwritten long rant on the subject. Needless to say I don’t regard them as a valid excercise of legislative power, nor even a good idea.

    But for now that doesn’t matter.

    Scoot appears to be charged with being a felon in possession. That’s assuming the reporter’s info is acurate (no offense meant to Jamie, but it’s not like reporters have a good rep of getting the facts especially in firearms related cases). The ATFU as well as the courts have been known to make mistakes. I recall not too long ago in Colorado a woman did a year for possession of a drug that turned out to be legal for her to possess. & hell, we are talking about the ATFU. A fabricated charge based on a shakey interpretation of a prior offense wouldn’t surprise me. He could have a misdemeanor assault charge that they’re claiming is domestic violence, for example. Or a conviction that should have been expunged wasn’t for some reason (which isn’t that uncommon). There are even a few (very few) felonies which are exempted from the “felon in possession” law. & considering he did buy firearms recently & presumably went through the background checks I’m not really inclined to buy into an ATFU charge as proof of anything other than those constitutionally illiterate bastards have got their ego mixed up in wanting to get someone.

    So before you yank any sympathy for the gentleman in question I’d suggest that innocent until proven guilty is not negated by anything other than a trial or confession.

  36. ChrisPer Says:

    My regrets that this has come to our friend. It now seems clear that he put himself at risk of this outcome, but I feel that he is still our friend and remains deserving of our support. I suggest that if they came on a false claim of machineguns, and the felony is so old or minor it should be expired, that popular support should still be applied to seek a minimum penalty.

    However, I am rather concerned at the guys who made a lot of assumptions in public that the BATFE would (continue to) plant false evidence and so forth. This kind of talk is what got us the Oklahoma city bombing. As a non-American I have got the idea somehow that Americans can clean up corruption in their own government, with a little effort. Yet perfectly OK people believe that the ATFE is somehow exempt from ethics applying everywhere else?

  37. lamont cranston Says:

    ATF is populated by liars, cheats and thieves who do not believe the law applies to them, as they are the law……we need to get someone who’s not a firearms guy and therefor has no exposure to do background and court records on these pieces of garbage and see how many of THEM are wife beaters and drunks.

    Find one of these assholes at the bar, buy him all the drinks he can hold, then film him driving out of the parking lot and call the local cops with his info…..”Hi, I’m following a drunk driver down the road, he’s all over the place…….”

    Fight fire with fire. Any firearms guy who can afford it should have his place wired for video and audio hooked up to transmit it out so the tape/dvd can’t be confiscated/stolen to conceal proof of their misdeeds, such as stomping kittens or throwing pregnant women around.

    Scumbags. I hope their kids get Cancer.

  38. SayUncle Says:

    Dude, that’s way over the line.

  39. Chris Byrne Says:

    Yeah, it’s pver the line; unfortunately his examples of ATF behavior are true; and in fact dont even scratch the surface.

    I used to work at a large class III dealers, and my wife worked at a duty free liquor distributorship. We KNOWw how bad the ATF are firsthand.

    The ATF has acknowledged that they know they cannot win most cases, so their avowed strategy is to lie in court, bankrupt the defendants, and force a plea bargain.

    At this point, my default position is that everything the ATF does on firearms related cases is bogus; and so is most of the alcohol stuff. It is almsot certain that any evidence the ATF has on a previously law abiding citizen is either a technicality, manufactured out of innocuous items, or jsut plain bullshit.

  40. Publicola Says:

    Chris,
    really – this isn’t any conspiracy theory induced view of the ATFU. There is a very clear history of their agents stepping out of bounds – way out of bounds in some cases – & getting away with it. This isn’t because of some diabolical central plan of .gov’s – it’s just the nature of the game they play. They enforce an immoral set of laws that violate the constitution, therefore it’s not a stretch that they’d be filled with folks of less than stellar morals or ethical aptitude & hence they don’t mind bending the rules since they feel the ends justify the means (otherwise they wouldn’t be enforcing the laws they enforce to begin with). You should not be surprised that a man who cheats on his wife backs out on a commitment in business when it’s to his advantage; neither should anyone be shocked that a bastard who took an oath to uphold the constitution then turns around & enforces laws that violate the constitution might plant evidence or perjure himself or use tortured logic to justify his/her actions.

    It’s not the talk that caused things liek the OKC bombing (actually there were various causes & slightly complex – but I’m running with your phrase for the sake of aesthetics) – it was the facts that led to the talk. The other .gov branches & bureaus aren’t squeaky clean either, but none seem as bad as the ATFU with the sole exception of the IRSS. Hey- they steal people’s money for aliving – what’d ya expect? Choirboys?

    & Unc – Mr. Cranston did go over the line wishing cancer on a child because of the heinous actions of the parent. But prior to that he had some good ideas. Not perfect but his heart was in the right place. After all those bastards have been entraping us for years, I don’t see anything terribly unethical about buying an ATFU agent a drink or twelve then dropping a dime on him. Course I do wonder if I’d have the stomach to stand a drink to one of those wannabe ninjas.

    In any case you’re right; any sort of conviction complicates the case & makes it more likely that the bastards who went on a fishing expedition based on a scored lover will have a prosecution to put in their cap. That however is not to say we should give up or not try to fight it. Even if the PR isn’t as good as a squeaky clean guy who got raided for the same thing it shouldn’t bring us any shame to do what we can. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t right him off as a sad case. The NRA damn sure will (like they’d give a damn anyway) & the odds definitely are against him, but bad laws don’t usually get changed by accepting them. Felony or not he’s a gun owner & the law, be it enforced often or seldom, is wrong as hell & in need of repeal or nullification. /choir preaching

  41. R. Neal Says:

    Sorry about your friend, Uncle. I’m curious though. You said he had passed a background check for past purchases. So, how did he get past a background check?

  42. power5483 Says:

    For the future, see:

    Tennessee Felony Offender Information Lookup

    https://www.tennesseeanytime.org/foil/foil_index.jsp

  43. SayUncle Says:

    ‘You said he had passed a background check for past purchases. So, how did he get past a background check?’

    Not sure, exactly.

  44. leguleius Says:

    SaysUncle and Jamie the Reporter:

    I’m curious: Did Jamie the Reporter tell you in her discussions that she’s been carrying the water for the US Attorney on complaining about a particular group of district court judges (I call the patriots) who take a state law that says there can be a “restoration of citizen rights” and making a big stink out of it.

    TODAY. See: http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/local_news/article/0,1406,KNS_347_4569534,00.html

    Strange that Jamie the Reporter is the very same person who now shows up with information about how THIS guy was a felon.

    A suggestion for Jamie the Reporter: If you really want a GOOD story, and I’m talking about one with pulitizer implications, please delve into how our government is turning almost every technical infraction of any sort into a FELONY.

    Little old ladies, for example, cannot buy the wrong kind of orchid on the internet for their garden, as apparently importing orchids is a FELONY.

    It goes on and on, and you get one of these great stories that will arouse the interest of both the political right and the political left: Not only is the right to own a gun and defend oneself taken away, but so are the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and the right to hold some professional licenses.

    I really hope Jamie the Reporter is an independent unbiased journalist and was not dispatched at the behest of her “source” the US attorney to release the Government’s “back up” position after their arresting officers clearly made the play in this case for a big “machine guns” racket and were then quick to notice the level of scrutiny such charges would bring.

  45. C H Browne Says:

    Gentlemen and ladies, the bottom line is that the ATF will continue its chain of illegalities and abuses until they perceive that there is a massive downside to doing so. Look for more of the same until someone or something makes their actions unacceptaby risky.

  46. Lornkanaga Says:

    leguleius–After reading that article, Ms Satterfield sounds like a real piece of work. I’d be interested in finding out what crime Scoot committed. I’d also like to know how he was able to obtain guns and, as SaysUncle mentioned, how he gained custody of his kids.

    Methinks we need a reform of our legal system–at least certain felony charges.

    An orchid? Yikes–I know growing poppies is illegal, and that all florists have to import any poppy flowers they sell, but orchids? I’d be interested to find out the why for that one.

  47. Manish Says:

    Hey SU…sorry to hear about your friend.

  48. TriggerFinger Says:

    A weapon in her hand…

    There’s been some excitement over at SaysUncle’s place. It seems one of his friends was raided by the BATFE. There was quite a bit of confusion on all sides, and as a result, it’s useful to consider the sequence of events…

  49. SayUncle » Felons with guns; and badges Says:

    […] I would daresay that this man carried a weapon in his capacity as a police officer. I’m sure the ATF will pursue the case since felons can’t have guns, right? […]