Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales is encouraging law enforcement officers to file criminal cases against people who have “switches” to make their legal firearms into fully automatic weapons.
In Bexar County, officers often come across Glock’s line of pistols. The base or slide plate of a Glock 9mm pistol from the factory is only capable of firing one shot every time the trigger is pulled. More often, local, state and federal officers are finding these legal handguns have been converted to fully automatic machine guns with a “Glock switch” or “auto sear” device.
Once a “Glock switch” is installed, the pistol effectively turns into a fully automatic machine gun capable of emptying an entire magazine in just a few seconds. Commonly available 3D printers can also make these switches out of metal or polymer.
“This tiny attachment is capable of causing death and destruction in the blink of an eye. The only purpose of adding these switches is to turn the pistol into an illegal machine gun. As a gun owner, there is no legitimate reason for anyone to have one of these,” said Gonzales.
Anyone caught with one of these devices installed can be charged with possession of a prohibited firearm – machine gun, a third degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. If law enforcement finds someone in possession of these switches, that person may be charged with unlawful use of a criminal instrument. If convicted, the offender could face up to two years in a state jail facility.
Beginning Monday, every Bexar County prosecutor will file a motion with the court to destroy all firearms seized in unlawful weapon possession cases as well as those cases in which a firearm was used to commit a crime.
“As long as our lawmakers refuse to change the laws to make us safe, we will work to prevent these guns from being able to harm Bexar County residents,” said Gonzales.
DA Gonzales joined Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, Commissioners Rebeca Clay-Flores and Justin Rodriguez, Sheriff Javier Salazar, University Hospital trauma surgeon Ronald Stewart and San Antonio Moms Demand Action in a call for state and federal lawmakers to raise the age to purchase guns from 18 to 21; require universal background checks for all gun purchases; and to pass red flag laws allowing a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people who are considered an imminent threat to themselves or others.
“One thing we know for sure: the failures of our Legislature and Congress to take action on these issues have not stopped mass shootings from happening nearly every day. The lawmakers have the research so it should not be difficult for them to start with the changes the majority of Americans want,” Gonzales said.