I’ve covered the issue around so-called Glock switches for a little while now. I’m watching the reports and have seen a lot more mention these days than before. That suggests that these devices are becoming a little more common.
Mostly, I’ve hammered China over their criticism of our gun laws on one hand and then exporting these blatantly illegal devices on the other.
Yet for a lot of people, that’s not a primary concern. The big issue are full-auto weapons in the hands of American criminals.
And now, the media is starting up their scare tactics.
At the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, machine gun conversion devices have become one of the top enforcement priorities. An ATF report on guns used in crimes found that the number of machine gun conversion devices seized by law enforcement went up 570% from 2017 to 2021, and officials say preliminary numbers from 2023 show another huge increase.
“New machine guns have been against the law in the United States since 1934, the days of Al Capone and the Tommy gun,” ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said. “But we’re seeing them all over the place … we’re talking about the rate of fire being 800 or even 1,000 or more rounds a minute. Think about how many bullets that is.”
I’m going to jump in and point out that until 1986, you actually could buy new machine guns so long as you had the relevant license. In 1986, that all went out the window and you can only buy those produced before that date.
Of course, if the ATF director doesn’t know that, we have bigger problems than I thought.
But more importantly, we’ve got the 570 percent increase over four years being brought up. What’s lacking, though, is context.
If only one Glock switch were found in 2017 and 57 were recovered in 2022, then we’ve got a 570 percent increase. Yet in a nation of 330 million people with more than 400 million guns in private hands, that’s not a concern. It’s statistical noise.
If there were 1,000, on the other hand, and then there were 57,000 in 2022, that’s a bigger issue.
In other words, they’re using scary numbers to, well, scare people.
Yet all of this is familiar. Where did we hear this sort of thing before? Oh, yeah! With so-called ghost guns.
Again, we were given these massive numbers, all to create a degree of alarm just at a time when the debate over unserialized, homemade firearms was really heating up. The idea was to make the problem bigger than it really was.
Actual numbers weren’t available from the ATF, but that didn’t stop some officials with the ATF to talk about this massive influx of “ghost guns.”
Now, the same is happening with Glock switches and other conversion devices.
In fairness, though, there is one profound difference. These devices are already illegal, so the media and the ATF have no reason to try and skew the debate and turn public opinion against these things. You already can’t have them lawfully.
Which raises the question of why this is a thing right here and now. Why not only keep up the alarmism and why target an already illegal product?
At this point, I’m donning my tinfoil hat for a second and speculating, but it seems that if they can’t further regulate the full-auto conversion devices, then they’re looking to regulate something else. In this case, the guns themselves.
Gun control advocates gave up regulating handguns decades ago, mostly because while they’re the gun most likely to be used in crime, they’re also the gun most likely to be in someone’s nightstand for self-defense.
I can’t help but feel like this is battlespace prep for an attack on the weapons these switches go into. If you can’t further ban Glock switches, then make Glocks impossible to get.
We’ll have to see, though. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m not.