PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois, man, Don Young, Jr., 22, of the 2200 block of North Flora, was sentenced on August 18, 2022, to 37 months in federal prison for possession of a machine gun, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Young was indicted in December 2021 and filed his change of plea in April 2022. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that on December 15, 2021, Peoria police officers were attempting to arrest Young pursuant to an outstanding arrest warrant when Young fled on his bike and then on foot, leading police on a chase between houses in the 2400 block of Ellis Avenue in Peoria. After apprehending Young at gunpoint, police searched the area and found a Glock, Model 19, 9mm caliber pistol a short distance from where Young was taken into custody. The firearm was equipped with a high-capacity magazine loaded with 33 rounds of ammunition. An additional round of ammunition was loaded in the chamber of the gun, indicating it was ready to be fired. The gun also had an aftermarket conversion “switch” attached to it, a device designed to convert Glock pistols into automatic firearms capable of shooting more than one round of ammunition with a single pull of the trigger. Glock conversion “switches” are defined as machine guns under federal law. Young admitted to possessing the firearm, claiming that he needed it for protection.
The statutory penalties for possession of a machine gun are up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to a three-year term of supervised release, and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
“Conversion devices that enable a store-bought handgun to be fired as a fully-automatic machine gun are extremely dangerous,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ronald L. Hanna. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals that use and possess these devices in our community.”
The Peoria Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Hanna represented the government in the prosecution.
The case against Young is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.