Fort Worth man arrested for selling Glock switches

Julie Jacobson

A Glock switch is a device one can fit onto a Glock handgun, converting it into a fully-automatic pistol. They’re relatively cheap, easy to produce, and illegal as hell everywhere in the United States.

But they are either imported from China or produced domestically with a 3D printer.

And a Fort Worth man was just arrested for providing them.

Federal agents arrested a Fort Worth man for allegedly using 3D printers to manufacture illegal machine gun conversion devices, officials said Friday.

Law enforcement agents arrested Xavier Desean Watson, of Fort Worth, Thursday night outside of his apartment complex. He appeared in court the next day.

According to prosecutors, Watson was involved in a ring that sold the devices, commonly known as “switches” (in pistols) or “sears” (in semi-automatic rifles). Three other sellers, Ayoob Wali, 23, Jose Corral Santillan, 19, and Montavion Jones, 20, were all charged earlier this year.

The ATF began investigating the ring earlier this year after Fort Worth police noted a surge in shootings involving conversion devices. Machine guns are under strict regulations and are mostly illegal for civilian possession, but the devices allow legal guns to fire as – or in some cases, more – quickly than even military issue weapons.

Multiple people arrested in connection with these shootings told police that Corral had supplied them with the devices. Corral and Jones, with whom he worked, led agents to Wali, who told them that Watson was the printer.

Now, we need to remember that nothing about these devices is legal. There’s no way you or I can obtain one lawfully, even if we go through the NFA licensing process. After all, these are made after the 1984 machine gun ban.

And those gun control laws are effectively meaningless.

Look, I’m like most gun folks. I think full-auto fire is cool as all get out, but where I’m different is that I’m not tripping over myself to get one. Even if they weren’t so heavily restricted, I don’t know that I’d really bother. I’d much rather have suppressors.

But if you’re going to restrict something so that the law-abiding cannot buy them without paying about the same as they a new car or even a house, you should probably consider whether or not bad guys can get them.

They can.

See, technology can disrupt everything.

The 3D printer is the death of gun control as it is, and the technology is only improving over time. Right now, they can produce a handful of parts, full-auto switches, and a few models of firearms. That’s with only being able to use plastic.

3D printers that use metal filament are a thing and will likely go down in price until they’re affordable for the hobbyist. At that point, nothing is off the table.

The so-called Glock switch may represent a problem, but it’s also a harbinger of things to come. What’s more, you can’t regulate it away. They’re already illegal, yet here we are.

What they also represent, though, is a distinct need to stop focusing on the tools and to focus on the tools using them.