A Canandaigua, NY man named Jonathan Roberts is facing multiple charges after allegedly violating weapons laws by purchasing gun part modifications for Glocks from China.
It all began when Customs and Border Patrol agents intercepted a package in New York City that contained a selector switch for a Glock. This device converts Glock pistols into fully automatic firearms, which is illegal.
According to court documents, the package was addressed to Roberts and had been shipped from China. Further investigation revealed two other packages had been shipped to his address from overseas as well.
In late April, the package was delivered to Roberts home by undercover agents, after which a search warrant was executed.
During the investigation, Roberts reportedly told investigators he had ordered the packages off of a popular shopping app on his phone. He reportedly told investigators he ordered the devices because he thought, “they looked cool.”
Court papers allege he told investigators he knew the devices he ordered online were illegal in New York, but said, “he thought those types of things were cool because he is a collector.”
Remember, under Federal law it is illegal to possess a machine gun, the definition of which includes “any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine-gun and any combination of parts from which a machine-gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”
Roberts reportedly added he thought they were legal to purchase because customs allowed them into the country.
Unfortunately for Roberts, simply blaming the U.S. government for allowing the items to be shipped to the U.S. is probably not going to work as a defense during trial.
Not only did Roberts buy illegal firearm parts, but chances are the parts he bought were cheap quality, and may not have actually worked with the firearm they were designed for.
Since online shopping is at an all time high, I want to share with you some tips to ensure you are buying quality, safe, and legitimate guns and parts whether you are shopping at a gun show, retail store, or online.
Check the logo. Some counterfeit guns include copies of logos that are close but not perfect. For instance, the logo on a cheap knockoff might be slightly italicized, while the originals are in block letters.
One of the first things you should do if you think you may be purchasing a fake gun or part is to do an internet search for the item to make sure the logo matches. In addition, make sure the logo is in the right location on the item.
For example, Glocks usually have the logo on the barrel and the grip. If one of these logo is missing the firearm may not be legitimate or parts may have been replaced.
Search the serial number. With any product, the serial number is one of the best ways to search for information and guarantee the legitimacy of the product.
In the case of firearms, you can do a simple online search of the specific make, model, and serial number to see what information you can find.
While many of the fakes are serialized as well, they are most typically engraved with a common number across all copies that can be pretty easy to spot. Plus, the serial number on a fake may be too long or short compared to the real serial numbers.
Finally, one of the best things to do if you question whether the serial number is real or not is to call the company’s customer service and ask them to search their database. If it’s real, they will have proof that the company manufactured it.
Pay attention to colors. Oftentimes, the people who make cheap knockoffs of products will have the inability or are too lazy to take the time to make the colors of the products look legitimate.
For example, if you purchase a gun sight and it’s normally red, but the sight you purchased is green, this could be a sign that it’s fake.
The reality is, government officials and industry leaders are fighting everything from counterfeit sportswear to brake pads to gun parts.
The biggest issue is that for the U.S. to criminally go after any of the makers of the fake products they would need the help of the host country where these counterfeit products are being made, such as China.
With the Chinese government unwilling to do much, the U.S. must take a defensive approach to these counterfeit products, which means they won’t stop anytime soon.
So, next time you are at a gun show or considering buying a gun online, do a little research before making such a big purchase. And, never do anything illegal.