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First juvenile charged with having Glock switch in Franklin County

Glock switches can convert a semi-automatic gun into one that shoots continuously while the trigger is pressed.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One of the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorneys warns just how dangerous Glock switches can be, which is why his office is charging a juvenile with that speculation for the first time.

“It's very concerning. These dangerous destructive devices are wreaking havoc on our community. They are relatively cheap, they are easy to attach to a gun and they are very dangerous,” said Anthony Pierson, deputy chief counsel at the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.

In body camera video, Madison Township police officers can be seen confiscate three fully-loaded handguns with Glock switches from four teens at a football game Friday night.

“If they have it attached to a weapon, that means that weapon goes from a semi-automatic weapon, meaning a bullet comes out after every trigger pull to a fully automatic weapon, meaning one trigger pull and the gun will continue shooting until it is empty,” Pierson explained.

Madison Township police say the teens, an 18-year-old, two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old were taken into custody. The youngest teen was arrested Jan. 26, 2023 for carrying a concealed weapon and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

That 16-year-old will now be the first juvenile in the county to ever be charged with the having a Glock switch attached to a gun.

“We want everyone to know, the criminals who are in possession, that if you possess one of these dangerous, destructive devices, we are going to come after you and we are going to send you to prison for having those. Hopefully the word does get out,” Pierson said.

If he is found delinquent with having the Glock switch on a gun, that teen could face a mandatory of one to six years in juvenile prison.

In all of last year, Columbus police recovered 17 Glock switches. So far this year they have more than doubled that at 52.

“I've been a police officer for over 20 years, I had never heard of these things until about six months ago. I was on a traffic stop and the arresting officer, we were passing this around saying, 'What is this?'” said Brian Steel, executive vice president of the Columbus chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Steel says last year, Columbus police recovered about 1,500 guns, and have already recovered 2,000 guns this year. He's glad the prosecutor's office is sending a message with the charges on Glock switches.

“We are doing our job. Our members are removing these weapons from the street. It will be a catch and release system until the prosecutor steps up. It is good to see his chief prosecutor is doing his job. Let's continue to take violent offenders, charge them and hold them accountable,” Steel said.

CrimeTracker 10 also checked in with Delaware County. So far they have not recovered any glock switches.

The Franklin County Prosecutor's office has charged several adults for having Glock switches attached to guns. Adults face a mandatory six years in prison if they are found guilty.

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