Monday, March 11, 2024

570% increase in devices to convert semi-automatic weapons into machine guns

 Communities around the U.S. have seen shootings carried out with weapons converted to fully automatic in recent years, fueled by a staggering increase in small pieces of metal or plastic made with a 3D printer or ordered online, reported The Associated Press. Laws against machine guns date back to the bloody violence of Prohibition-era gangsters. But the proliferation of devices known by nicknames such as Glock switches, auto sears and chips has allowed people to transform legal semi-automatic weapons into even more dangerous guns, helping fuel gun violence, police and federal authorities said.

“Police officers are facing down fully automatic weapon fire in amounts that haven’t existed in this country since the days of Al Capone and the Tommy gun,” said Steve Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF. “It’s a huge problem.”

The agency reported a 570% increase in the number of conversion devices collected by police departments between 2017 and 2021, the most recent data available.

Guns with conversion devices have been used in several mass shootings, including one that left four dead at a Sweet Sixteen party in Alabama last year and another that left six people dead at a bar district in Sacramento, California, in 2022. In Houston, police officer William Jeffrey died in 2021 after being shot with a converted gun while serving a warrant. In cities such as Indianapolis, police have seized them every week.

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