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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 1, 2022

Rockford Man Sentenced to More than Five Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearm “Switch” Devices

ROCKFORD — A Rockford man has been sentenced to five and a half years in federal prison for illegally possessing firearm “switch” devices.

JAVAUGHN A. HIXSON, 23, possessed and sold four of the devices, also known as “Glock switches,” in Rockford from October to December of 2020.  Each conversion device is designed and intended to convert a firearm into a machine gun capable of automatically firing more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. 

Hixson also illegally possessed a loaded handgun with an extended magazine.  On Jan. 4, 2021, Hixson was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by the Rockford Police Department.  Hixson ran from the officers and tossed the gun into the snow.  Hixson had previously been convicted of a felony weapons offense and was prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.

Hixson pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of illegally possessing machine guns and one count of illegally possessing the firearm. 

U.S. District Judge Iain D. Johnston imposed the 66-month prison sentence on Aug. 25, 2022, after a hearing in federal court in Rockford.  In a written sentencing order, Judge Johnston stated, “The sole and exclusive purpose of Glock switches, which are easily manufactured, is to convert an already dangerous firearm into an extremely dangerous machinegun.  The dangerousness manifests itself not only in the sheer number of bullets that can be emptied from the magazine in the blink of an eye but also in the resulting lack of control of the firearm when discharging it.  The damage a machinegun can inflict is enormous.  The damage — intended and unintended — a handheld machinegun can inflict is just as great.  This offense involved 9 Glock switches, some of which Mr. Hixson sold believing they would be resold to others.”

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff; and Carla Redd, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Talia Bucci.

Holding illegal firearm possessors accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy.  In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses
Updated September 1, 2022