CNN has reported that federal authorities are searching for thousands of conversion devices that render semi-automatic Glock pistols into fully automatic weapons that are considered to be machine guns.
According to CCN, “Brad Engelbert, an ATF spokesman, described the nationwide recovery effort as a ‘high priority’ for the agency, focused on those devices in the possession of ‘people who may be a danger to the community.'”
Engelbert told CNN that while the devices are specifically designed to modify Glock pistols, he stressed that they are not manufactured by Glock. The agency believes the illegally imported devices came from China, in some cases ending up in the hands of convicted felons, CNN reported.
ATF and customs officials in Chicago identified more than 2,900 packages containing conversion devices that are believed to have been shipped into the United States under false customs declarations, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Rhode Island, CNN reported. PayPal accounts linked to the suspected Chinese exporter revealed more than 3,800 sales transactions by U.S. customers who are believed to have illegally purchased and obtained the devices, according to court records.
CNN reported that agents with the ATF’s Internet Investigations Center recently purchased “multiple” conversion devices from a website “believed to be operated out of China” by one or more suspects, according to the affidavit. The conversion devices were sold for $19.99 each and advertised as “Glock Pistols Select of Switch Full Auto For All Models Glock All Generations. [sic]”
As CNN noted, “It is illegal for civilians in the United States to possess machine guns manufactured after 1986. Ownership of a machine gun made before then requires a federal permit and registration. The small amount of automatic weapons available for purchase has created a niche market in which they can sell for big money.”
The takeaways from this story are many, but the big one for me was, “What?” I had no idea that Glocks were so easily modified to become full auto, so I chased down a few links on the internet to see how it’s done. Basically, it seems, the switches change the sear engagement inside the pistol by using an arm attached to the rear plate. I don’t want to go into it any further than that.
Second, who would be so stupid as to buy one of these things? From China, no less? Seems like a short ride from your PayPal account to the hoosegow. Electronic payment trail, delivery address, and all that. Knock, knock. Who’s there? BATF, that’s who.