Anybody Know Anything About This?

Seems the BATF has indicted Oliver M. and Ulrich H. Wiegand, owners of InterOrdnance “on 83 counts alleging conspiracy, illegal importation of machineguns, illegal possession and transfer of machineguns, structuring, and money laundering.”

Really? Only 83? The ATF press release says:

The charges involve the Wiegand brothers’ federally licensed firearms business, Interordnance of America, L.P., located in Monroe, North Carolina, as well as foreign companies located in Witten, Germany and Ferlach, Austria, at one time owned and controlled by the Wiegand brothers.

According to the indictment, Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand are German nationals who established Interordnance of America in June 1995 as a firearms importation business and used the business to illegally import machineguns into the United States as machinegun component parts. According to the indictment, Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand also owned and controlled two foreign companies Wiegand Ordnance GmbH, located in Witten, Germany and Interordnance Waffenhandel GmbH, located in Ferlach, Austria, which were used by Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand to illegally import Russian-made PPSH 41 machinegun component parts into the United States for subsequent sale by Interordnance of America. In addition, the indictment alleges that Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand also illegally imported FN FAL IMBEL and STEYR MP69 machineguns. The indictment alleges that Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand imported the machinegun component parts knowing that the machineguns had not been destroyed according to ATF specifications. Further, the indictment alleges that Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand sold these machineguns as parts kits to customers throughout the United States knowing that the component parts could be assembled as functional machineguns. According to the indictment, Ulrich and Oliver Wiegand, through Interordnance of America, sold over 2000 PPSH 41, over 1000 FN FAL IMBEL and over 500 STEYR MP69 machineguns to customers throughout the United States without conducting any background checks and without recording any ownership registration information with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

So, what they’re saying is that some 3500 illegal machineguns are now in circulation? Good job ATF! A two-year investigation! Job security!

I seem to remember something about torch-cut FAL receivers that the BATF was running around trying to collect from people who had purchased parts kits.

Oh, and of course here’s another example of asset forfeiture at work:

The indictment includes a Notice of Forfeiture that asks that the defendants be required to forfeit to the United States all of the property involved in the offenses charged in the indictment and all property traceable to such offenses.

Which means, effectively, “everything they own.”

InterOrdnance has a response up at their web site. The response is here. Key quote:

Interordnance maintains that its actions regarding the importation and sale of the parts kits were at all times legal and in accordance with BATF regulations. Presently, none of the parts kits are offered by Interordnance pending resolution of the formal charges, even though similar parts kits can be found for legal sale by other firearms dealers.

Problem is, the BATF has such a bad reputation with me that I tend to believe almost anybody over them.

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