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Indiana lawmakers pass bill to regulate 'Glock switches'

If signed by Governor Holcomb, the law will help local municipalities prosecute people for possessing these devices that create mini machine guns.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers have passed a bill that will give more clarity on how to prosecute "Glock switches", a device that can turn a semi-automatic handgun into a fully-automatic weapon.

The bill, HB 1365, amends the state's definition of a machine gun to also have it include a "part designed and intended solely and exclusively; or a combination of parts designed and intended; for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun."

The hope is that this will allow county prosecutors to charge people with a felony for possession of a machine gun even if they only possess the Glock switch attachment.

"The intent of the bill is to match federal law, because right now we only have federal law," Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn, D-Fishers, said. "This would really bring authority back to local municipalities to really expedite that process."

The bill passed the House 71-23 on Monday. It passed the Senate 45-4 on March 20.

"This bill had unanimous bipartisan support, nearly," Garcia Wilburn said.

Glock switches are a plastic or metal attachment that can be put on the back of a Glock semiautomatic pistol. With the device attached, the gun can fire continuously with one pull of the trigger. Using extended magazines, these guns can fire dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds.

The Louisville ATF says it's a federal crime to possess a Glock switch because the devices count (federally) as a machine gun and it is illegal to own any machine gun made after 1986. 

Glock switches, which are also called "machine gun conversion devices" or "auto sears" can be bought online or 3D printed at home. There are similar devices that go inside the chamber of an AR-15 that can make them also fire fully-automatic.

"I think technology has really surpassed us, so we need to keep up with appropriate laws to keep our communities safe," Garcia Wilburn said.

Glock switches have been on a large increase over the last three years in Kentucky. The Louisville ATF says across the Commonwealth, law enforcement agents seized more than 125 of these devices in 2022.

The previous year, they seized a total of 13.

On March 13, a Louisville man was arrested for ordering a Glock switch through the mail from China. That man was charged in federal court on March 22.


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