FOX23 Investigation: “Switch” add on turns handgun into semi-automatic

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is looking at a new gun add on that quickly turns a handgun into an illegal machine gun.

ATF officials gave an up close look at the device being called a “switch”, showing how one pull of the trigger, empties the entire magazine in seconds.

“32 rounds through a Glock 17 with an auto switch,” ATF Special Agent Morgan Madison elaborates.

It’s not an official product, they explain, even though it has that “Glock” logo.

“So this little switch here on the back, even though it says Glock it wasn’t manufactured by Glock. So that needs to be said: that this is not a Glock product,” the ATF explains.

The ATF says theses “switches” are illegal but criminals are getting them simply through an online order for as little as $10 up to a couple hundred dollars.

Having this add on is a federal crime and can earn you 10 years in prison.

The ATF says they have already taken some of these devices off the streets. Prosecutor Dan Driscoll says they too are starting to see these switches and there is concern about the added amount of damage they could cause.

“Because of this, the way it fires, it’s very hard to control. And so instead of having shots going where the person intends them to go, the shots tend to fly all over the place,” Driscoll explains.

The ATF says because the switch essentially turns a gun into a machine gun, people have been charged with the crime “possession of a machine gun.”

“You can own any type of machine that is pre-1986. But anything that’s manufactured after 1986 must be owned by the military, law enforcement or an individual with a special occupational tax from the ATF,” Special Agent James Nash says.

The ATF is working to shut down web sites and social media pages where these switches are sold.

“I would say that this is considered a priority to ATF. It’s one priority,” Nash says.

The ATF says they are seeing a majority of these devices imported into the U.S. from China or Russia or other countries overseas.

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