80+ cases involving ‘Glock switches’ used in crimes over past 2 years in BR; DA proposing changes

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives New Orleans Field Division is looking to warn the public.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:46 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:47 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives New Orleans Field Division is looking to warn the public about both Glock switch devices and auto sear devices being used in crimes across the Capital Region.

The small devices can turn a semi-automatic pistol into an automatic firearm, able to fire 1,100 to 1,200 rounds in a minute.

“But these are machine gun conversion devices, and what they do is they convert a handgun into a fully automatic weapon,” said Marlin Ford, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, ATF.

The Glock switches are used for handguns and the auto sear devices are used for long weapons.

“It’s very concerning. They pose a significant threat to law enforcement and the general public,” explained Ford.

The devices can be made at home and can even be 3D printed.

“We’re seeing them quite frequently. I mean, we’re seeing recoveries on a week-to-week basis,” added Ford.

The Glock switches have actually been illegal since 1986. And those who are found in possession of them can receive 10 years in federal prison.

“We’re seeing Glock switches used all over the place, whether it’s murder, attempted murder, witness intimidation, whether it’s shooting up in a neighborhood or shooting up houses,” said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore said his office has seen more than 80 cases over the past two years involving Glock switches or auto sears attached to weapons involved in crimes.

“That we know of, that are arrested. That are using them is probably going to be in the 200s. How many times they were used, but arrests are over 80,” said Moore.

He is now proposing new legislation, changing the current state law when it comes to machine guns to get it in line with federal statutes.

“Right now, under Louisiana law, we have to show that if you pull a trigger on one of these weapons, at least eight rounds fires excessively. We have to bring it to a range to do that. Under federal law, all you have to do is that, more than one round fires. So, we have to have a much higher burden to show it’s a machine gun, and we feel that legislation is outdated,” explained Moore.

The goal is to not let convicted felons get their hands on weapons or devices like this.

“It’s going to make sure that people know that look if you’re caught with this, we’re going to prosecute you as in possession of a machine gun,” said Moore.

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