Uptick in “machine-gun conversion devices” has Louisville law enforcement concerned

Glock switches—small, illegal mechanisms that convert a handgun into an automatic weapon— have been seen in multiple jurisdictions in the Lowcountry in the past
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 11:12 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A device that can turn a normal handgun into a fully automatic firearm is becoming more common in Louisville, and it has law enforcement worried.

The ATF calls these attachments “machine-gun conversion devices” and they’re being found in Louisville more and more.

From November 2020 to November 2021, LMPD and ATF Louisville found less than five of these devices. Last year, they found nearly 100.

That’s only what has been verified, the ATF said they know the actual number is higher.

“I’m protecting the President of the United States and there’s 4 guys coming at me,” Barry Laws said. “I spray and get him out of there and that’s basically what they’re for. They’re not meant for making small grooves and small holes, it’s to get a lot of distance between you and the bad guy.”

Laws is the President of Open Range gun range in Crestwood, and he showed WAVE news a Glock 18.

A Glock 18 has a switch that essentially turns a regular Glock into a machine-gun. It’s something that a normal Glock doesn’t have.

Using a small device, people have found a way to duplicate that switch. It turns other ordinary guns into machine-guns.

“The switch is actually a little piece on the end cap they put in there to create this same switch or similar to it. Completely illegal,” Laws said.

The switch allows a gun to fire up to 1200 rounds a minute with one trigger pull.

The ATF said the device can be attached in less than 60 seconds. So in the time it takes to attach it, someone can fire off hundreds of bullets.

Or 33 bullets in less than 2 seconds, which is what Laws demonstrated.

“It’s going so fast you can’t even see your sights,” Laws said. “You’re just kind of pointing and shooting.”

Laws says shooting that many bullets that quickly is almost impossible to control even for an experienced shooter. So it’s not a capability you want in the hands of just anyone.

“When we’ve had our staff shoot it, they’re hitting the lights out in the ceiling, and this is people who know how to shoot,” Laws said.

ATF Louisville said the devices are difficult to track because they have so many different names. They’ve provided training to LMPD to identify the devices.

If you’re caught with one of them, you can be charged with federal firearms offenses.