Glock switches responsible for two recent U.S. mass shootings, raising lawmakers’ brows

ATF Glock switch concerns
ATF Glock switch concerns
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 6:05 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Federal law officers in New Orleans are cracking down on a device that has been used in several recent mass shootings.

A Glock switch can turn a handgun into a small-scale machine gun and possession of one could lead to heavy jail time.

Putting automatic capabilities in a handgun make it more inaccurate, and more deadly.

“As the rounds continue, unless you’re using good fundamentals, you’re going to miss your target and possibly hit other subjects and other people in the background,” said ATF agent Tony Pierce.

According to the Department of Justice, investigators in Houston linked a Glock switch to a mass shooting that wounded three police officers in January. Lawmakers in California are also asking the ATF to crack down on Glock switches after six people died in Sacramento last month in a shooting involving the deadly device.

“It will continue fire unless you pull your finger off the trigger or the magazine runs out of ammunition,” said ATF agent Tim Carroll.

Guns rigged with a Glock switch can fire up to 1,100 rounds a minute.

“It prevents the trigger from walking back and requiring a second trigger pull. So it is able to fire one round after the other,” said Pierce.

The ATF has recently become more involved with the NOPD in the fight against violent crime and while they don’t have direct statistics as to the prevalence of Glock switches, they say it’s clear there have been more mass shootings lately.


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“We are seeing an increase in New Orleans, in Louisiana. It’s definitely been an increase over the last two years nationwide as well,” said Carroll.

Crime scenes with 50 to 60 bullet casing marker cones are not uncommon.

There have been two mass shootings in New Orleans over the last three weeks, claiming more than a dozen victims, but neither the NOPD, nor ATF will say if Glock switches were used in those shootings.

Possession of a Glock switch can lead to severe penalties.

“For someone who uses a machine gun for drug trafficking or crime of violence, the sentence is 30 years in addition to whatever the underline charges are,” said Carroll.

They say the switches often lead to innocents being killed, and they say they are doing all they can to get the deadly devices off the streets.

The NOPD says in February, the ATF and other federal partners joined with them to enhance the violent crime abatement team. They say that cooperation has produced an increase in arrests and prosecutions over the past several months.

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