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Gun modification increases danger to police and public

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, told I-Team 8 it’d seen a 600% increase in the number of Glock switches and Auto Sears took off the streets across the country in the last five years.

Sergeant Genae Cook with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said, “It’s very alarming.”

IMPD says they’re seeing them more and more, including during the Jan. 29 police shooting where the suspect had a gun with a modification.

A Glock switch, or auto sear, makes a semi-automatic handgun into a fully automatic machine gun. That decreases accuracy and increases the danger to everyone around. 

“They go to pull the trigger you’re going to get a person who cannot control that gun when they pull that trigger and now you may have bullets that may go everywhere,” Cook said.

Garrison Burge is the manager of Beech Grove firearms. His store does not sell the devices, but he knows about them.

Burge told I-Team 8 it’s easy to put the modification on the gun, “I would have to say it is not difficult at all.”

The ATF says it’s also easy for criminals to get their hands on them.

Special Agent In Charge Daryl McCormick, said, “Easy to buy on the internet, so it’s hard for us to detect that because it’s like any black-market type of device. The other thing we’re seeing now is they’re being 3D printed.”

This is a scenario where law enforcement has to play catch up to what criminals are doing.

“Criminals are agile. They figure out ways around the law and this is another case of that, so we have to be innovative and agile as well and we’re going that. We’re employing techniques to identify the devices as they’re coming into the United States,” McCormick said.

Possessing the modification piece, not attached to the gun, it’s a federal felony. That is not the case in Indiana.

“It’s not illegal to possess it, but once it’s on the gun then it’s in action,” Cook said.

That’s why IMPD encourages people to call their state representatives to take on this issue at the state house.

“We need the tougher laws for people who have these in their possession, because if we don’t have the tougher laws and tougher consequences it will remain the same,” Cook said.

IMPD told I-Team 8 when they are taking modified guns off the streets, they’re also finding them combined with high-capacity magazines. That means the now fully automatic machine gun pistol can fire double, or sometimes triple, the amount of ammo than it normally does in one clip.