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IMPD finding more illegally modified guns

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis police said they’re dealing with a disturbing trend that makes guns more dangerous.

Officers tell News 8 they are regularly finding handguns that have been modified into machine guns.

Under Indiana law, possessing a modified gun is illegal, and is a level 5 felony. Under federal law a person found with a gun that’s been turned into a machine gun, could spend up to 10-years in prison.

Investigators said the small modification to a firearm turns it into a fully automatic weapon. An undercover Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant tells News 8, the small switch that makes that possible is popping up on guns and showing up in crimes across the city.

“Maybe not daily, maybe not weekly in person yet, but I would say on a monthly basis. But then as far as investigations where we are seeing evidence of them, we’re certainly starting to see that activity on a weekly basis,” said the officer.

Just last week during a traffic stop, officers recovered a gun, that according to Indiana and federal law, had been modified into a machine gun. This one was done using a Glock switch.

“It can turn, you know, a normal, so-to-speak handgun into something where with one pull of the trigger, it can expel very rapidly, a lot of rounds of ammunition. So, it has the potential to be much more dangerous in a much shorter amount of time,” the undercover officer said.

He said police are also seeing the weapons in social media posts.

“There are some circles where having one, in the criminal world, has a bit of a status element to it,” the officer said.

IMPD said the crime lab for Indiana State Police has also been recovering these kinds of weapons more frequently.

The IMPD sergeant said here in Marion County it’s too soon to say exactly how many modified firearms have been recovered. He said that’s because many are still under investigation.

“Obviously we work a lot with Marion County Prosecutor’s Office as well the U.S. attorney’s office, and both of those offices at the state and federal level, even this year have filed cases involving those kinds of weapons,” said the officer.

IMPD said if you know someone who has an illegal firearm, police want you to report it. You can do so by calling 317-262-8477.

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