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Feds take aim at accessory that effectively turns handguns into fully automatic weapons

Posted: 12:24 PM, May 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-16 12:35:52-04
Feds take aim at accessory that effectively turns handguns into fully automatic weapons
Feds take aim at accessory that effectively turns handguns into fully automatic weapons
Feds take aim at accessory that effectively turns handguns into fully automatic weapons

CLEVELAND — Police in northeast Ohio says they've collected multiple handguns in the past month that have been modified to turn the firearm into an automatic weapon.

In one case, 20-year-old Toriano Leakes, Jr. of Cleveland was indicted on two counts of illegal possession of a machine gun.

Bedford Police say the Glock handgun they confiscated from Leaks' car was modified to include a "select-fire auto sear." The device is also sometimes known as a "select fire switch."

According to Justin Herdman, a US Attorney in the Northern District of Ohio, the modified handguns can fire 30 rounds in the span of five to six seconds.

“It’s a newer thing hitting the internet because people think it’s cool,” said Assistant Bedford Police Chief Rick Suts.

“The second you put that on a gun, it violates the National Firearms Act. It makes it a machine gun which is illegal," he said.

Federal authorities say they've seen an increase in the modified handguns and they hope to crack down.

“We have seen a significant uptick in people trying to acquire these switches manufactured mostly in China,” Herdman said. "...a message is being sent. If you have a machine gun in the Northern District of Ohio, we are going to prosecute you federally."

The push is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program aimed at violent crime.