ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Top law enforcement officials in New Mexico are warning people about what they say is an increasing number of guns modified to act as machine guns. Posting a video to Twitter this week, New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez and APD Chief Harold Medina are also reminding people of the stiff penalties associated with having a so-called “Glock switch.”
Often smaller than a penny, the Glock switch has become a growing concern across the country. The ATF describes a switch as “a relatively simple, albeit illegal, device that allows a conventional semi-automatic Glock pistol to function as a fully automatic firearm,” or a machine gun. Prosecutors say possessing an unregistered machine gun is a federal crime.
“A Glock switch or the full auto selector switch is a machine gun under federal law,” Uballez said in the video. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a felon, it doesn’t matter if its attached to a gun, simply possessing this half-inch piece of plastic in your pocket could earn you up to ten years in prison.”
The penalties can be even more severe if the switch is found on a firearm or used with a gun. “If you attach it to a firearm, using or carrying that converted firearm during or related to any federal crime or violence or drug trafficking crime, or possessing that converted firearm in furtherance of such crime will earn you a mandatory minimum and consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison,” Uballez said.
Police and prosecutors didn’t offer any example of recent cases in the video, or any statistics citing how many more modified weapons they’ve found. Regardless, police are asking people to report any information they might have on people who may possess a Glock pistol modified with a switch.
“As a responsible gun owner, if you see these modifications, please alert your local law enforcement agency and help us keep Albuquerque safe,” said Chief Medina at the end of the video. To view the full post on APD’s Twitter, click here.