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Indiana lawmakers advance bills to outlaw machine-gun conversion devices

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday passed House Bill 1365 to criminalize machine-gun conversion devices.

For weeks, I-Team 8 has reported about the machine-gun conversion devices, commonly known as switches and auto sears, that turn handguns into fully automatic machine guns.

The Indiana Senate is also trying to address the issue. The Corrections and Criminal Law Senate Committee on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 343.

Chris Bailey, assistant chief of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, testified in the Senate committee meeting about the dangerous trends the department is seeing with devices that turn a handgun into a machine gun. “We routinely identify both teenagers and adults producing these devices at home using 3D printers, and then selling these same devices to our kids and violent offenders.”

According to Bailey, 1 of every 6 guns taken off the streets by IMPD and used in 2022 in crimes had a machine-gun conversion device on it.

The trend has only continued in 2023. “In the past two weeks, in one investigation, our investigators have recovered 40 of these machine-gun conversion devices,” the assistant police chief told the committee.

Bailey also gave further evidence of why the devices are so dangerous on the streets. “It is common occurrence for Indianapolis police officers to recover 50 to 100 fired cartage casings in a single firearms-related, violent incident in our neighborhoods.”

The bill in the Senate would make possession of the device itself a felony in Indiana, which it currently is not unless it’s already attached to the gun. The House bill would do the same.

The main difference between the Senate Bill and the House bill is that the House bill focuses solely on these devices while the Senate bill also tries to address other issues, such as organized theft from businesses, and expungements.