NY Times Auto Sear Switch Story Reveals the Increasing Futility of Gun Control Laws in a 3D Printed World

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Courtesy KSTP TV

Switches come in various forms, but most are small Lego-like plastic blocks, about 1 inch square, that can be easily manufactured on a 3D printer and go for around $200.

Law enforcement officials say the devices are turning up with greater frequency at crime scenes, often wielded by teens who have come to see them as a status symbol that provides a competitive advantage. The proliferation of switches also has coincided with broader accessibility of so-called ghost guns, untraceable firearms that can be made with components purchased online or made with 3D printers.

“The gang wars and street fighting that used to be with knives, and then pistols, is now to a great extent being waged with automatic weapons,” said Andrew M. Luger, the US attorney for Minnesota.

Switches have become a major priority for federal law enforcement officials. But investigators say they face formidable obstacles, including the sheer number in circulation and the ease with which they can be produced and installed at home, using readily available instruction videos on the internet. Many are sold and owned by people younger than 18, who generally face more lenient treatment in the courts. …

The Justice Department has stepped up prosecutions of sellers and suppliers over the past few years. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is a crime to manufacture a machine gun, a violation that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Prosecutors in Chicago this month charged a 20-year-old man with selling 25 switches and a 3D printer to an undercover agent. In November, federal prosecutors in Texas charged a supplier who, they assert, had sold thousands of switches — shipping some inside children’s toys.

Switches are fast becoming embedded in youth culture, and have been the subject of rap songs and memes on social media. One of four teenagers accused in the killing of an off-duty Chicago police officer this year posted on the internet a song called “Switches,” rapping “shoot the switches, they so fast” as he showed an arsenal of weapons.

Ernesto Londoño and Glenn Thrush in Inexpensive add-on spawns a new era of machine guns

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    • Enforce laws? Ha!

      I’d really like to see some data on how many prosecutions are quietly dropped based on demographic, as that data would come in very handy when killing the ‘Hughes’ amendment.

      Who am I kidding?

      What we really need is a requirement to accurately report crime data…. 🙁

    • That’s such an absurd position. The NFA, GCA, etc are all unconstitutional.

      Instead, I propose that we punish actual crimes like murder, robbery, and assault, and follow what the Constitution says about firearms.

  1. The government just needs to make them illegal. Then the criminals will no longer have them… The big lie, repeated…

    • No. The government needs to take away your semi auto rifles, pistols, and detachable magazines, so the criminals can’t get their hands on these switches. The logic is as air tight as deficit spending our way to prosperity.

    • The only problem I see with these switches is the high cyclic rate makes the Glocks excessively inaccurate, endangering innocent bystanders.

      • “The only problem I see with these switches is the high cyclic rate makes the Glocks excessively inaccurate, endangering innocent bystanders.”

        Looking at characteristics labeled “assault weapons”, wildly inaccurate is an intended outcome.

  2. The 1968 Gun Control Act needs to be flushed along with everything tied to Gun Control. Gun Control like its sidekicks Racism and Genocide have no place whatsoever in America. Unfortunately the History of Gun Control is lost in the debate, the courts, etc. And there lies the problem.

  3. I have doubts about the ATF and other law enforcement agencies making anything more than a grandstanding effort to eliminate ‘switches’. Across the country, in urban areas ( especially), attorneys general, judges, mayors, city councils, and police chiefs are leniently enforcing the law (if at all) against criminal gangs and minorities. As a result, crime, including violent crime, is skyrocketing. The case against ‘switches’ is being pushed into the headlines, not to stop crime, but to build momentum for taking our guns and ammo. The thinking among the gun-grabbers is “Violence is our friend”.

    • The local TV “news” in Chiraq is profoundly ANTI-2A. Gun violence “prevention”(led by ex cons), how we’re “safe” after the awb,the state going after gun manufacturers & various absurdities. Never a mention about severe penalties for the gangscum© who commit 90% of crime. That’d be raciss😕

      • People need to be looking at who owns the media. A group called Americans 4 truth or Patriots 4 truth which is also aligned with Americans for Innovation have extensively documented involvement by the Pilgrims Society (both British and American). This organization was established (1903) for the express purpose of returning America to British control. It involves members who are high up in the US military service, aka TRAITORS. A formal effort was initiated in 1909 the Empire Press Union. A little known aspect of the US constitution is that states may not contract with foreign entities. If a foreign interest controls the corporation that controls your media, then this is a relatively unexplored avenue for wresting control away. I listen to GR Mobley and the ratification debates Reclaiming the Republic

        • Dr. Lee, thank you for posting. I’m looking into Mobley and his organization based on your recommendation. Interesting! His is another voice calling for a Constitutional Convention, though he terms his tact as “Republic Review” or “Constitutional Audit.” (He explains that the “convention” term has too many negative connotations attached to it.)


        • Northern Indiana sans South Bend is like night and day compared to Illinois. I’m sure there are awesome places to live in Illinois except for the draconian gun laws. Prickster the douchebag from hell.

  4. “Switches are fast becoming embedded in youth culture”


    They are becoming ’embedded’ in gang and wanna-be gang thug culture and some of those are young and could in some cases be referred to as ‘youths’.

    In other words, its not the ‘its all of society youth’ concept this type of broad statement implies. Statements such as this are false and ‘deceptive’, they imply something that isn’t true like that ‘guns are the number one cause of death for children’ false thing the anti-gun push.

    • when I was a kid and fall came round s it always did, we were all cutioned that we’d better start being better little boys and girls else Santa would be putting switches in our Christmas stockings…….
      My my how times have changed, eh?

  5. I know, just double the mandatory sentencing for possessing a switch and for committing murder, that’ll scare em… Right? No? Hmmmmmmm…

  6. Urban yoots are using homemade auto sears to murder each other.

    Obviously the solution is to go after the rights of rural middle aged men and women.

  7. Wow, if they’re not careful, they might just have to start looking at how to stop CRIMINALS, instead of pieces of plastic…

  8. “and have been the subject of rap songs and memes on social media…”

    The BATFE version of “The Streisand Effect!”

      • “lol…I see where you are going with that…”

        He (and you) are absolutely on the right track here.

        We can use this to our advantage. By getting the registry re-opened, we are creating a chance to get those switches registered and legal.

        Now, you, I, and anyone else sane sane knows they won’t be registered by the gang-bangers, but that’s not the *point*. They are now a simple fact of life. They exist. They aren’t going away.

        Likely a hundred-thousand plus are floating around out there, and re-opening the registry is a perfectly logical way to deal with the ones that are already in circulation… 🙂

        • The 1986(?) ‘Hughes’ amendment closed the select-fire registry. We sue under the ‘Bruen’ standard to get it re-opened, so new machine guns and built machine guns can be enjoyed by all the good POTG girls and boys… 🙂

        • Since the common use requirement is about firearms sold, it would make sense to apply the law to unmodified firearms, much like the laws in many states about vehicles.
          THAT loophole would be welded shut so fast, it would make your heard spin.

  9. 1) The Second Amendment is one thing.

    2) The criminal misuse of firearms, bricks, bats, knives, fists, feet, vehicles, etc. is another thing.

    3) History Confirms Gun Control in any, shape, matter or form is a racist and nazi based Thing.

  10. If the government starts making and selling the switches then it will under cut the illegal people making them and they’ll I stop. It’s a win for everyone!!

  11. Only going to get more complicated as 3D printers become cheaper and more available and are able to make metal parts as well as plastic.
    The genie is out of the bottle. Hard to get them back in.
    Now… start prosecuting…regardless of ethnicity or age.
    Oh wait…THAT would be racist.

    • We can use the fact they are deliberately not prosecuting the gang-bangers as rationale to killing the illegal ‘Hughes’ amendment and re-opening the registry… 🙂

    • Metal printers are already a thing they are just extremely expensive for now…….much like the widespread 3d printers now were 2 decades ago.

  12. Houston woman sentenced to 30 years for luring man into brutal attack by machete-wielding MS-13 members > https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/houston-woman-sentenced-to-30-years-for-luring-man-into-brutal-attack-by-machete-wielding-ms-13-members/ar-AA1fbWcA?OCID=ansmsnnews11

    Just to mention, ~1,500 criminal attacks daily across the United States using knives/edged weapons and over ~85% of those not armed with a firearm for defense are seriously injured and less than 1% of those armed with a firearm and employing DGU are seriously injured.

  13. Article is paywalled, I can’t read it. Really wanted to see the spin for myself, but, oh well.

    But, the point is, if some kid can dump some plastic into a hopper, run a program, and walk away with a machine pistol, the gun control laws are meaningless. What, we don’t think the cartels are going that route? The Mafia won’t go that way? The Russian Mafia? We already see that the gangstas right here are doing it. Soon, it will be worldwide. Some warlord in Africa or Asia wants to overthrow the government, he just begs, borrows, or steals some 3D printers, and starts passing out guns to anyone old enough to pick it up and aim it. Ammo may be a bigger challenge than producing guns!

    And, meanwhile, the criminals get ever more firepower, and law-abiding citizens are told to chill, gubbermint will take care of them.

    • Interestingly, exactly that has already been happening. Myanmar is a good example, with the Salingyi Special Task Force fielding dozens of FGC9 printed carbines.

  14. As usual the Far Rights solution is “to nothing’ and hope that the “problem just goes away”.

    The average crook is so dumb he can barely turn wrench and he is certainly not capable of building his own gun unless the firearms industry makes it easy for him providing him with advertised templates on where to drill holes and supplying build kits and computer programs to make illegal parts.

    • Lol and how do you intend to restrict widespread information without violating the 1st amendment? Yeah not happening for stuffing the genie back in the bottle so probably better off going after the gangs even if we don’t go full El Salvador

      • By STATE controlled flow of information.

        With him as the Supreme C0mmissar of communication.

        After he completes “The Great Purge” with his Caravan of Death.

    • The “average crook” doesn’t build his gun at home, asshole.

      And no law is going to stop the “average crook” from criminaling.

    • How many MARXIST/SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST, “INSTRUCTIONS MANUALS” do you have on your shelf and Computer???


      OOPS, forgot to S O C I A L I S T violate the NAZI POLICE!!!!

      How many MARXIST/S O CI A L I S T/COMMUNIST, “INSTRUCTIONS MANUALS” do you have on your shelf and Computer???

    • Prohibition ended the alcohol problem. The average crook was too dumb to cook booze.

      War on drugs was a rousing success. Crooks were too dumb to make illegal drugs. dacian, you truly are pants on head retarded.

  15. a while back, i think it was on this site, a photo of youths graduating from probably was the everlyn woodhead speed reading academy showing off their glocks with switches—faces were shown—-were they arrested and convicted, or was it because they were under 18 years old that they were allowed to stay on the streets —–how about sending them to the ukraine if they think they can shoot

  16. “Many are sold and owned by people younger than 18, who generally face more lenient treatment in the courts. “

    And, of course, those in that age group are generally unable to legally buy or own, let alone carry a handgun in most states.

    Son of a gun! They’re already breaking The Law before they even make or install the giggle switch.

    Anyone see the problem here? It would be far better for Society itself to demand and enforce civilized behavior by everyone, regardless of race, religion, economic status, gender (or lack thereof),and especially age. Believing politicians, police, or courts will fix this, when the common, average adults won’t take it seriously, is ludicrous.

    Our Founders realized and discussed this before, during and after ratification. Liberties sans responsibilities eventually lead to anarchy.

    • “Refund the police” could be countered by “Refund the Sheriff” and reestablish the militia. All able bodied adults (as defined by your elected constitutional sheriff) have to be available to serve. Police departments may actually be unconstitutional. These entities typically become politicized and controlled by elites (who may not even be American citizens). I’m A fan of GR Mobley’s Reclaiming the Republic and his efforts to pull the Federal government back into the framework of the constitutional limits of their authority. check out the Ratification debates which are legal documents. I’m hearing (Todd Cal lender’s message) that key politicians do not even have valid signed oaths of office on file as required by the constitution and the first act of congress.

  17. Well yes that is typically what lurks behind the mask of concerned we need to do something.

  18. “… often wielded by teens who have come to see them as a status symbol that provides a competitive advantage.”

    Often wielded by YOUNG MALES who have come to see them as a status symbol that provides a competitive advantage IN THEIR STRUGGLE TO ACQUIRE FEMALES.

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