ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When a man was arrested Wednesday morning for firing a gun inside a home, Rochester police went back into the house with a search warrant. And that’s when they found one of the most dangerous kinds of guns in our city.
It was altered with a device that turns a semi-automatic gun into a machine gun. They’re called “switches” or “auto-sears.” What they do to a gun makes it hard for even the ATF’s firearms instructor to control it when he pulls the trigger.
ATF Special Agent Sean Martineck is an expert with a gun. In November, he demonstrated what it looks and sounds like when he fired a semi-automatic handgun. One round was fired every time he pulled the trigger. Then he demonstrated what it looks and sounds like when he shoots another handgun fitted with an auto-sear. Martineck fired 28 rounds in a matter of seconds.
Martineck, Special Agent ATF: “As you can see from the demonstration, bullets are flying everywhere. So now we’re putting the general population or public in harm’s way as well.”
Before the demonstration, Martineck showed me what the auto-sears look like. They’re about the size of a die.
Brean: “Under no circumstances would something like this ever be legal.”
Martineck: “Correct. This switch by itself, any of these switches by themselves, they’re considered machine guns.”
Brean: “The law would consider yourself as possessing a machine gun.”
Just after midnight, RPD went to a home on Lexington Avenue across from the former Holy Rosary church and school. There was a fight between two people inside the home and at least one person shot one bullet at another person. Police arrested a 20 year old and got a search warrant. When they went in the home police say they found the gun with the switch at the back of the slide.
Brean: “What do you think our viewers are going to think about what they just saw?”
Martineck: “How dangerous those are. How dangerous an auto-sear in a gun that is already dangerous, how it just takes it to another level out in a community that is already plagued with violence from guns, out in a community that is already plagued with violence from guns.”
RPD didn’t say if the gun with the switch is the gun that was fired. The arrest happened too late for the suspect to be arraigned in city court Wednesday morning. The arraignment will happen Thursday morning.
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