'Make my Glock go full auto': How criminals turn standard firearms into illegal machine guns

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Saturday, August 5, 2023
Criminals turning standard firearms into illegal machine guns
Anthony Prisco, from south suburban Oak Forest, has been charged with selling 25 machine gun conversion kits.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is an epidemic of mass shootings, with two happening on average every day in America this year.

The mass attacks are made possible in many cases by shooters with automatic weapons, frequently converted guns by a simple-and small-metal switch.

A 20-year-old man from suburban Oak Forest man was arrested by ATF agents and charged with selling 25 machine gun conversion kits, which use small, metal switches that turn a legal Glock pistol into a fully-automatic weapon.

Federal law enforcement agents said Anthony Prisco was in a machine gun deal with an informant who told him, "Make my Glock go full auto."

"It takes a pistol that normally requires, one, squeezing the trigger per round to fire, and turns it into a fully-automatic machine gun, meaning that the pistol will continue to fire as long as there's triggers held down, and there was ammunition in the weapon. What this does, it does a couple things. First of all, it puts the police officers at a tremendous disadvantage, because they're firing legitimate weapons, which fire one shot per pull the trigger. They can't match the speed of the rounds that are being put out by a fully automatic pistol," said retired CPD Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy.

Roy told the I-Team the threat grows for police and the public from the easy to obtain or make metal switch.

Prisco is now being held without bond at the MCC Chicago after he was arrested in an Oak Forest neighborhood, where, investigators said, he lived with his parents. Authorities also said that home is where he made the gun kits on a 3D printer.

According to a federal complaint, Prisco was on probation from a similar machine gun conviction in Cook County. He was never jailed for that crime.

Roy said the arrest was significant.

"Between the police and the ATF, they just save a lot of lives, because, you know, the average rate of fire with one of these switches installed on a clock pistol is 1,000 rounds a minute. That's a theoretical number, because you just can't keep enough ammunition going into it. But still, the ability to fire 50-60 rounds of ammunition within one minute, it's just, it's terrible," Roy said.

In addition to the raw firepower, Roy said, beat cops are now frequently outgunned, and a major problem for public safety is that small fully-automatic pistols are not easy to control, so bullets may go everywhere.

Federal agents used a car with hidden cameras to record audio and video of the alleged machine gun deals, according to ATF.

Prisco's court-appointed attorney has not yet responded to an I-Team request for comment.