Chicago man's charges throw a wrench in gun control argument

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

The state of Illinois has a lot of gun control and folks in Chicago like it that way. There are also gun control laws at the federal level that apply, particularly with regard to things like machine guns.


In fact, there’s not nearly as tightly controlled as weapons that are capable of fully automatic fire.

I know what some people claim about buying automatic weapons over the internet, the truth is that you can’t really do any such thing. You can order semi-auto and have it shipped to an FFL, but full-auto? Hardly. There’s a lot you have to go through just to be able to lawfully buy such a thing.

And yet, the charges filed against a Chicago man raises all kinds of question.

A suburban Chicago man has been indicted on federal firearm charges for allegedly trafficking 25 “Glock switches” that convert handguns into fully automatic machine guns.

The indictment charges Anthony Prisco, 20, of Oak Forest, Illinois, with illegally possessing and transferring machine guns and illegally possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. Prisco has been ordered detained in federal custody without bond. Arraignment is set for Aug. 7 at noon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather K. McShain.

According to the indictment and a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Prisco in June sold 25 machine gun conversion devices, a firearm with an obliterated serial number and a 3D printer. Unbeknownst to Prisco, the buyer was an undercover law enforcement officer. The printer that Prisco sold to the officer had been used to print the machine gun conversion devices, the charges allege. A machine gun conversion device, commonly known as a “Glock switch” or “auto sear,” equips firearms to fire multiple rounds with a single pull of the trigger.

Prisco was on probation for a state firearm conviction when he allegedly sold the guns to the undercover officer. As a previously convicted felon, Prisco was prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.


Now, let’s remember that while machine guns are legal to own if you jump through the correct hoops, none made after 1986 are available for private individuals to purchase. These full-auto switches weren’t made before then, and so aren’t eligible for lawful purchases.

And we’ve seen a growing number of these turn up at crime scenes over the last few years.

Now, they don’t appear to be super common or anything, but neither are so-called ghost guns. Using the metric established with unserialized firearms, though, we can make the argument that these are a growing threat and all that jazz.

In reality, they’re coming up more commonly and they likely will become a significant problem.

The issue is that they’re already illegal at the federal level. There’s literally no way to ban them more, which is kind of the point.

These things are highly illegal and yet criminals are getting them. They’re getting them more and more often, and while people trip up themselves over so-called ghost guns and demand those be banned, they’re ignoring the fact that these are already banned and nothing is stopping them from being made.


The upside is that it’ll still be a good long while before they’re actually that common, but since they’re already banned, it should show us that just because you restrict something, it doesn’t mean bad guys won’t get them.

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