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Law enforcement trying to crack down on deadly 'Glock switches'
BATON ROUGE - Within seconds of adding a small device to a pistol, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can go from shooting one bullet at a time to firing off 1,200 bullets per minute.
"It's bad because they pose a significant threat to law enforcement and the general public," said Marlin Ford, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge, said.
It's called a Glock switch, and it turns your average pistol into a machine gun.
"What we've seen... across the United States, people have 3D printing machines. They are printing and milling these at home," Ford said.
"It's something you can make in your house, on your computer. It's not something made with craftsmanship which makes guns break down, as you can see, making them more dangerous," District Attorney Hillar Moore said.
It's not just pistols being altered — semi-automatic rifles are also becoming more dangerous with a similar device. The modified guns are much harder to control, becoming threats to everyone around them.
"I know of no valid reason anybody would want one of these devices on the end of their weapon, in their weapon other than to do harm and destruction and to kill someone," Moore said.
Dozens of the weapons have been taken off the streets in Baton Rouge where more and more young people are using them, hoping to hit their intended target.
"Oftentimes, about 10 or so are being held by juveniles, which, again, makes it more dangerous," Moore said.
Moore says state laws don't count the modified guns as a machine guns, which carry greater penalties. In order to charge someone with possession of a fully automatic machine gun, they have to come to a special range to prove it.
Now, Moore's office is working with state lawmakers to redefine what a machine gun is. He also notes anyone who is charged with possession of a machine gun has the ability to leave jail, buy a new pistol and convert their already deadly weapon into something more dangerous.
"That's another statute that we will ask the legislature to take a look at and change because we surely don't want people possessing these weapons to have the ability to possess it again—or another kind of weapon, for that matter—at all," Moore said.
Moore is still looking for an author for the amendments.
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