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Orange Park man charged with illegally selling machine gun conversion devices

Kristopher Ervin, 41, was indicted for selling auto-sears that convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — A Clay County man was indicted for selling hundreds of machine gun conversion devices.

On Monday, Kristopher Ervin appeared before a judge for making more than a thousand items known as auto-sears which prosecutors say creates a dangerous loophole around gun laws, changing a weapon from semi- to full-automatic fire.

The device also called a "lightning link" is a part that can be cut out of a credit card-sized piece of sheet metal. 

Undercover agents purchased a link from Ervin, and with help from a Dremel tool, a firearms test found the link made a weapon's fire rate into full automatic.

According to the US Attorney's Office, agents with the ATF and US Postal Inspection Service purchased multiple items from a website called AutoKeyCards.com.

On February 22, agents watched Ervin deliver 22 packages to a local post office in Orange Park. Investigators obtained warrants and found Ervin created labels for more than 1,200 mailings containing auto-sear devices.

Ziadeh Farhat, firearm sales manager at Green Acres Sporting Goods says those items are not found on store shelves like his.

"It’s a federal offense to have one so I don’t know anyone crazy enough to do that,” Farhat said.

Machine guns can cost thousands of dollars and are strictly permitted compared to standard weapons like an AR-15.

“You have to go through a stringent, stringent background check, more so when you get a regular firearm," Farhat said.

Prosecutors said during the hearing that Ervin's product goes around the law.

Ervin was arrested on March 2, and his websites were shut down. However, prosecutors said during the court hearing he had support from several YouTube accounts that were promoting devices like Ervin's.

At Ervin's Columbia County residence, agents recovered $3,700 in cash, approximately 1,552 auto-sear devices, machinery, computers and packaging materials.

During Monday's hearing, prosecutors say he used a local machine shop to etch the auto-sear pattern onto the sheet metal and he would sand the product down before shipping it to customers.

Ervin also had several firearms that were seized by ATF. In the indictment, a social media post by a user linked to Ervin's business said his website was shut down in November 2020 due to being "a victim of cancel culture," although Ervin said he had dozens of websites he could use.

If convicted, Ervin faces up to 10 years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.

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