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Date: 06-18-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Michael Andrew Thomas

Case Number:


Court: The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Grand Rapids

Defendant's Attorney:

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Grand Rapids, Michigan criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with Possessing A Machinegun

Lansing Man Sentenced For Possessing A Machinegun

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Michael Andrew Thomas, 20, of Lansing, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for possessing a handgun that had been modified to a fully automatic firearm using a conversion device. A conversion device, also referred to as a “switch,” meets the federal definition of a “machinegun.”

“Gun violence inflicts senseless suffering and lasting trauma on our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “The prevalence of machinegun conversion devices is an especially concerning trend. With the single pull of a trigger, these devices can spray 1,000 rounds a minute. Offenders beware: possess these devices and you face the very real prospect of federal prosecution.”

Thomas was arrested in January 2024 after law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence and found a handgun with a conversion device attached. The gun also had an extended magazine loaded with 34 rounds of ammunition.

Thomas posted a photograph of himself with the handgun on social media prior to the search. At the time, Thomas was on state bond after being charged in a 2023 incident involving carjacking and assault with a dangerous weapon. Law enforcement previously arrested Thomas in September 2023 during a traffic stop in which Thomas possessed a stolen firearm that also had a conversion device attached. Law enforcement later obtained forensic evidence from Thomas’ cell phone indicating he trafficked conversion devices and firearms.

“Machine gun conversion devices are not firearm accessories but machineguns under federal law. A single-shot-function conversion of a weapon poses a severe threat to our community and public safety,” said ATF Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Mr. Thomas deliberately chose to illegally possess and advertise in his possession an illegally modified firearm. In the end, I urge anyone in Michigan contemplating experimenting with a machine gun conversion device to think of Mr. Thomas who will be spending a considerable amount of time in prison for similar choices and/or behavior. These devices are a clear and present danger to public safety and will be investigated and prosecuted as such.”

Gun violence is an acute problem across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. firearm homicide rate in 2021 was the highest documented since 1993. While the numbers have slightly declined since 2021, they remain high.

Resources and information on the safe storage of firearms can be found by reviewing the U.S. Department of Justice Safe Storage of Firearms guide, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pamphlet. Anyone who possesses a gun must follow all local, state, and federal laws.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney LaToyia Carpenter and investigated by the Lansing Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 46 months in prison

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