Skip to main content
Press Release

Missouri Woman Admits Selling 7 Machine Gun Conversion Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU – A woman from Stoddard, County, Missouri on Monday admitted selling seven devices that turn AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles into machine guns.

Sidney Brianne Scowden, 41, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. to one count of conspiracy to transfer a machine gun and three counts of transfer of a machine gun.

In her plea, Scowden admitted that on Aug. 11, 2022, she sold three “lightning links” for $500 each to someone working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She sold another three on Sept. 19, 2022 and a final one on Oct. 19, 2022.

Lightning links, also known as drop-in auto sears, convert a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle into an automatic weapon. Even if not installed in a firearm, they are considered machine guns under federal law.

Scowden had reached out to the person working with the ATF on Snapchat, asking “You know anyone who wants to buy a lightning link for an AR to go fully automatic,” her plea says.

Scowden is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The charge of transfer of a machine  gun carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and the same fine.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Willis is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 6, 2023

Firearms Offenses