Earlier this year the ATF tried to charge a man with possession of an unregistered Short Barreled Rifle. The defendant, Kelland Wright, actually had an AR Pistol with a Maxim Defense cheek rest. However the ATF claims it is a stock which contradicts previous determinations. These inconsistencies of interpretation were shot down in court and Kelland Wright was found NOT GUILTY.
Recently an article was posted by Joshua Prince on Prince Law Offices Blog called ATF Unhinged: Prosecutions Made Up Out of Whole Cloth – You Might Be Next… This article has been shared on social media and is being blown out of proportion. People are jumping to conclusions and that is partly Josh’s fault. His article only refers to some information and makes claims that the information has been “sealed by the court”
Although many of the documents have been sealed by the Court (that should tell you a good bit already), the superseding indictment is publicly available
But this is actually not the case. Several documents are available on Pacer.
Here is the Background of Incident. Kelland Wright had an argument with Christina Wright. There is an allegation of domestic violence and in Toledo Ohio a Temporary Protective Order is grounds for law enforcement to remove firearms from the person charged. The Toledo Police seized six firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. It is here the police noticed the firearm in question and called in the ATF.
This is where the Complaint Affidavit comes into play. BATFE Task Force Officer William Noon makes the claim that the firearm in question has a stock and therefore based on the length of the barrel, it is a a short barreled rifle. However the problem here is the assumption that the firearm has a stock when it is not a stock. How do we know this? In the following document.
The Doc 24-Govt Disclosure of Expert Witness is the testimony by Firearms Enforcement Officer Eisenbise. Eisenbise’s testimony has detailed pictures of the firearm in question. The photo at the top is from this document. Let us take a closer look.
While beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, there is nothing illegal about this AR pistol.
Eisenbise measures the overall length of the AR pistol with the Maxim Defense cheek rest fully extended. She removed the muzzle device since it was not pinned and welded. This causes the overall length to be 25-3/4 inches and a barrel length of just 7-11/16 inches. Almost an inch shorter in OAL and barrel length from what Officer Noon claims in his Affidavit.
Do you recall the Connecticut case where the ATF measured the brace folded? Well now the ATF are back to measuring OAL with a non-stock fully deployed.
Do you see a problem with how length of pull was measured? Eisenbise measured it diagonally. In her testimony she says this length makes it a stock.
the Firearm’s length of pull is approximately 13-3/4 inches (as compared to most
standard factory rifles, which have a length of pull from 13-1/2 inches to 14-1/2 inches).
So if it was below the 13.5 inch length, it is not considered a stock.
In a previous approval letter for the Shockwave Blade 2.0, the ATF measured length of pull parallel with the barrel and buffer tube.
The other problem, according to Eisenbise, is the adding of a rubber cane tip to the back of the Maxim cheek rest. You can see an unmodified cheek rest above.
the collapsible stock has been assembled by using a piece of black cord to attach a
rubber pad (Nev-a-slip brand cane tip) to the back end of a Maxim Defense collapsible
“extension only” device. The redesign of the extension device was done in such a manner that provides a pad for shouldering, and in a manner which creates a length of pull that facilitates its use as a shoulder stock;
Sure there is language in the ATF reversal letter about modifying braces. But that does not apply here since there is precedent on this exact issue.
Did you see that second to last paragraph in the letter above? Adding a rubber cane grip does not make stock. So it should not apply here either.
This is what the defense expert witness Vasquez Expert Opinion contends. He argues the same issue that the ATF is mistaken in their method of measuring length of pull. He also argues that the rubber cane tip is loosely held in place and not permanently installed which makes it unsuitable for shooting shouldered.
One issue Josh Prince brings up are the Motion of Limine to prevent ATF determination letters to be used as evidence.
The ATF tried to get the defendant’s defense from being introduced to court. These involved ATF Determination Letters and some Youtube clips of Adam Kraut’s The Legal Brief of The Gun Collective. The ATF tried to make the claim that none of these items pertain to Wright’s firearm nor are they addressed to Wright. However the ATF cannot interpret the law one way for one person or company and have a different interpretation for another.
Fortunately the jury found him to be NOT GUILTY and more importantly the ATF lost the case with the Attorney General in court. These ATF inconsistencies were called out and shot down. Josh Prince makes the assumption that Wright suffered a monetary loss defending himself when actually he used a public defender. His article is a bit misleading and people online are jumping to the wrong conclusion over this issue. I am surprised he did not find the documents I have shown you here and they were in no way sealed by the courts. Joshua Prince also makes a deal about the angled grip on this pistol. However looking at Eisenbise’s testimony they were not bothered by the presence of the Stark brand forward grip. If they were they could have then charged him with making an illegal AOW, a pistol with a vertical grip. But this was not the case. This is a good story of a guy who did not get rolled over by the ATF. How he got there is another issue and according to the Background of Incident he entered a no-contest plea of disorderly conduct which causes the simple assault charge to be dismissed. He should be getting his guns back.