It is a never-ending effort to keep dangerous switches off the streets and our neighborhood safe. But just what is a Glock switch? These small devices are turning handguns into machine guns.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office reported on Monday that a Pontiac man had been detained for illegally purchasing and importing Glock Switches from Russia, which convert the standard, legal handgun into a significantly more lethal weapon.
The most popular handgun in the United States is a 9mm Glock, and it is pretty simple: every time you pull the trigger, a single round is discharged. But a Glock Switch transforms everything, reports FOX 2 Detroit.
What is a Glock Switch?
The little item simply snaps into place, according to Randall Mullins, manager of Top Gun in Taylor.
It is roughly the size of a quarter and transforms various Glock handgun models into an illegal machine gun in a matter of seconds.
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The devices, also known as “Glock switches” on the streets, are becoming more and more common in the Miami Valley.
John Bedell, the investigative team’s lead reporter, looked into how these dangerous devices are getting to us and what local and federal law enforcement are doing to remove them from the streets.
A gun with an illegal Glock switch seems to be a standard semi-automatic handgun unless you know what you are searching for. However, it behaves and sounds like a machine gun. Because that is exactly what the ATF claims. Federal investigators demonstrated to the I-Team how a single squeeze of the trigger discharged a full extended magazine carrying 19 rounds in under two seconds.
The ATF recently provided the I-Team with an exclusive and up-close look at the devices. Despite the logo, it is not an official product. “So this little switch here on the back (of the slide): even though it says ‘Glock,’ it wasn’t manufactured by Glock,” ATF Special Agent James Nash said. “So that needs to be said: that this is not a Glock product.”
“As a switch, it would just snap on to the back of the gun and switch it from semi-automatic to full auto,” Randall Mullins, manager of Top Gun.
While showing us how the Glock is constructed, Mullins emphasized that it is not intended to fire at such a rapid rate.
“It has a standard backplate…and a sear on the inside of the gun, which stops the gun from firing more than one round at a time as the trigger is pulled,” Mullins said.
It converts the firearm into a machine gun by placing the little component on top of the weapon and opening the mechanism.
Immanuel Gates was recently detained for purchasing and bringing in the switches illegally, according to an announcement made on Monday by Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. According to Bouchard, Gates is being prosecuted on federal charges for importing a firearm illegally, which carries a significant prison sentence.
“It’s something that criminals are aware of – the dark net and different places, where they buy different things,” Bouchard said.
How Gun Switches are imported
According to court filings, Gates, who is associated with a gang, purchased the switches from a Russian website and had them smuggled over in a container labeled “spare lawnmower parts”.
However, in order to possess and use a gun conversion switch, a gun owner must possess a federal weapons license.
“This is illegal with no additional laws needed,” said Mullins. “It’s already an illegal item to have on your gun.”
Federal officials allegedly intercepted a package bound for Gates that contained 20 of these devices.
Gates was monitored by law enforcement from July 2020 to October 2021, and it was claimed that he placed numerous orders from the Russian website.
For the federal firearm charges, Gates is currently pending trial and faces a potential 10-year sentence.