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Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Pushes for Ban on Gun ‘Switches’

Pennsylvania law enforcement is stepping up its attempts to ban gun modifications known as switches, which may turn standard weapons into semi-automatic pistols and endanger both law enforcement personnel and the public.

Kevin Steele, the district attorney for Montgomery County, highlighted the need for a ban on these devices, citing their easy accessibility and risk.

Montgomery County firearms and ballistics specialist Detective Eric Nelson gave a demonstration of the operation of switches and their common application in a variety of firearm types.

According to Captain James Kearney of the Philadelphia Police Gun Investigation Group, switches are not just found in suburban regions. He cited a recent incident in which suspects used a handgun modified with a switch to wound many juveniles in a shooting.

Any firearm that has been altered with a switch is considered a machine gun under existing federal law, which makes it unlawful. To better effectively handle this issue, law enforcement officials emphasize the necessity of state-level legislation.

Steele emphasized the need for state legislation to enable local law enforcement in the fight against the proliferation of firearms modified with switch modifications, since depending just on federal authorities might not be adequate.

Although switches are currently illegal in a number of states, such as Delaware, Pennsylvania is actively working on legislation that would outlaw them. After passing the House, a bill to ban switches is now pending consideration in the State Senate.

In order to reduce the threat posed by these firearm modifications and improve public safety, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association has encouraged lawmakers in Harrisburg to speed the adoption of this bill into law.

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