Three Chicago men are facing weapons charges after President Donald Trump deployed federal agents to Chicago during “Operation Legend.” These three men are the first to face charges under Operation Legend.
In late July, Trump announced the deployment of “hundreds” of federal agents. The move was initially met with skepticism and outright anger by Chicago officials, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot eventually welcomed the troops after a personal phone call from President Trump.
Since announcing the operation, federal agents have aided in the arrests of the Black Disciples gang, which operates on Chicago’s south side and these three weapons charges, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Federal Gun Possession Charges
The three men, Darryl Collins, 30, Romeo Holloway, 21, and Darryl Phillips, 22, will face federal weapons charges.
Collins is charged with being in possession of ammunition as a convicted felon, while Holloway is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Phillips, on the other hand, is charged with possessing an illegal machine gun.
Of these charges, the most interesting is the possession of an illegal machine gun. Fully automatic weapons are legal to own, but only if those weapons were manufactured prior to 1983. Weapons manufactured after 1983 are entirely illegal to possess. Nonetheless, you need a special permit to own fully automatic weapons and are not allowed to turn a gun into an automatic or semi-automatic without a special license.
In this case, Darryl Phillips will face charges that the handgun he was in possession of had a device known as an auto-sear (called a switch) that allowed the gun to reload a new bullet once the last bullet had been fired.
What is the Difference Between Automatic and Semi-Automatic?
Automatic weapons are like machine guns, the kinds you see in movies. The shooter simply depresses the trigger, and multiple bullets fly out until the shooter takes his finger off the trigger.
Semi-automatic weapons work differently but can be made to act like fully automatic weapons if the person using them is sufficiently skilled. It was for this reason, that Donald Trump banned the use of bump stocks.
Essentially, the semi-automatic rifle, like a non-automatic weapon, fires one bullet per trigger depression. However, a sufficiently skilled gun owner could use the recoil of the weapon to load the next round. In this manner, a semi-automatic weapon can be made to act like a fully automatic one. Bump stocks make the process easier but are unnecessary for a sufficiently skilled owner.
In this case, the pistol had a switch (called an auto-sear) that allowed it to act more like an AR-15 than a single-shot pistol. Most auto-sear-related crimes relate to AR-15s being turned into M16 (fully automatic) weapons. Auto-sears are legal only if they are manufactured before 1981. The presence of an auto-sear under federal law automatically qualifies any weapon as a machine gun under the National Firearms Act.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing weapons charges in the Chicago area, call Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg right away to learn more about how our services can keep you out of prison.