Federal law prohibits machine guns made after 1986 from being sold to private individuals and such weapons were already heavily restricted under the National Firearms Act of 1934.
And yet, full-auto switches are proliferating at an increasing rate.
In truth, we don’t really know how bad the problem really is, or if it’s really a problem at all, because authorities keep talking about them like they talk about unserialized firearms, so it’s hard to tell just what is going on.
But they weren’t really much of a thing on anyone’s radar until recently.
And, as noted by the NRA-ILA, they’re evidence of the futility of gun control.
In recent years there have been several articles complaining about the proliferation of auto or Glock switches (auto sears). These items are used by criminals to illegally modify commonly-owned semiautomatic handguns into machineguns. Those concerned about these items should focus on enforcement of existing federal law.
Reasonable people can question the wisdom of banning the mere possession of inanimate objects, rather than focusing on their intentional misuse. However, no one can deny that the federal government currently has the statutes necessary to confront possession and use of these items.
Federal law, 26 USC § 5845(b), defines a “machinegun” as follows:
any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.
Note the language in bold. Firearms that shoot automatically meet the definition of a machinegun. However, even a mere part “designed and intended solely and exclusively… for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun” is itself a machinegun absent any other part of the firearm. Therefore, possession of an auto switch, even without an accompanying receiver, barrel, etc., is the possession of a machinegun.
In other words, these are illegal and have been for a very long time. The average person cannot have a full-auto switch lawfully. There are probably some exceptions, but not many and they don’t apply to the vast majority of street punks using these things.
Yet, if gun control works, these would be a non-issue. No one would have them.
And yet, if we’re to believe the news reports, they’re showing up everywhere. They’re becoming the accessory of choice for the well-armed gang-banger. They’re the greatest scourge of the 21st Century.
How does that work?
If gun control is effective, this shouldn’t be a thing. It should be a non-issue and we all know it. It’s an issue at all because criminals don’t obey gun control laws. Whether it’s full-auto switches, so-called ghost guns, universal background checks, or anything else, if they want a gun then they will find a gun. If they want to be more lethal, they’ll find a way to be more lethal.
Let’s remember that those inclined to kill their fellow man are generally not going to be that concerned with the legality of full-auto switches anyway.