For decades, the U.S. government thought it had won the war on machine guns. Since the 1930s, a slew of regulations, taxes, and manufacturing bans dwindled the pool of available automatic weapons into near oblivion.
But the modern age has produced a modern machine gun. Auto sears, commonly referred to as “switches” or “chips” on the street, are small metal or plastic pieces about the size of a thimble that, when installed in a semiautomatic weapon, quickly convert it to fire in full-auto. Auto sears are cheap, ubiquitous, and extremely easy to install at home.
In partnership with VICE News, we documented the proliferation of guns modified with auto sears and other automatic conversion devices. We hope you’ll watch the segment below, and read the accompanying feature story.