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Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Applaud Alabama House Lawmakers’ Passage of HB36, Bill to Ban Pistols That Have Been Converted Into Machine Guns

May 1, 2024

Montgomery, AL — The Alabama chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to Alabama House lawmakers passing HB36, introduced by Representative Ensler, on Tuesday night, which would ban the possession of pistols outfitted with devices that convert them into machine guns.  

Machine gun conversion devices, including “Glock switches,” are aftermarket devices that allow users to convert semi-automatic firearms into illegal fully automatic machine guns. These devices pose a particular threat to law enforcement officers.  Glock switches have been used in shootings that injured and killed law enforcement officers across the country, including in Mississippi, Texas, and Colorado. There have also been multiple mass shootings across Alabama using these devices, including at a dance studio, a New Year’s Eve party, and a convenience store

“Nobody should be able to convert firearms into even deadlier and unpredictable weapons. Law enforcement leaders see the increasing danger firsthand and have asked the state to act. We need our state legislature to provide them with a tool to stop this deadly problem,” said Melissa Bailey, a volunteer with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Alabamians deserve to feel safe in their communities, and passing this bill is an integral step towards reducing gun violence in our state.”

“When guns are the leading cause of death for my generation, holding the gun industry accountable for its deadly practices is absolutely crucial in our fight to end gun violence,” said Makayla Jordan, a volunteer with the University of Alabama Students Demand Action chapter. “Alabama has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country, making this a massive step towards advancing gun safety in the state. There’s no reason someone should be able to access these weapons of war, and that must include using Glock switches to turn handguns into machine guns. Period.” 

With a Glock switch installed, a shooter can fire an entire magazine’s worth of ammunition in seconds. Federal law already largely prohibits an individual from possessing machine guns and conversion devices, yet because there is no corresponding state law, Alabama often needs the help of federal authorities to crack down on this problem. According to ATF data, the number of Glock switches recovered in Alabama has increased by over 1,200% year over year. Other states have passed bills to ban Glock switches in recent years, including Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Virginia, and Mississippi. 

Alabama has the fifth-highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S., and the fourth-highest rate of gun homicides and gun injuries. The rate of gun deaths has increased by 54% from 2012 to 2021 in Alabama, compared to a 39% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Alabama $15.4 billion each year, of which $421.4 million is paid by taxpayers.

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