Authorities raise alarm about illegal use of gun conversion device in Hawaii

Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 9:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal officials are trying to crack down on criminals in Hawaii using a device that turns a semi-automatic handgun into a fully automatic weapon.

Authorities said they are seeing an uptick in Glock converters in their investigations.

“This is a problem that we’re seeing across the nation, these small devices being imported into cities and towns all over the place,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price. “These things are so highly dangerous when in the wrong hands that I think they’re a significant problem.”

Authorities are targeting the illegal use of the small devices, which aren’t much wider than a dime.

Anyone convicted of the unlawful use or possession of a converter faces up to 10 years in prison.

“Effectively, you’re taking a semi-automatic pistol, placing the device on the end, converting it into a machine gun,” said Aaron Joseph, the resident agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The cycle rate on that weapon would be somewhere around 1,000 rounds per minute when functioning.”

The warning comes as federal officials boost enforcement efforts on illegal firearms in the islands.

With about three months remaining in the federal fiscal year, more than 130 firearms have been seized in Hawaii, according to Price.

Some 38 were confiscated during the previous fiscal year.

He credited enhanced partnerships with local law enforcement, and also highlighted a case in which four Maui men were indicted last week for firearms charges.

“As a direct result of the collaboration between ATF and the Maui Police Department, the 17 firearms seized in this investigation are no longer on the streets on Maui,” said Price.

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