U.S. Attorney’s office, ATF announce joint initiative focused on machine gun conversion devices in Texas

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Attorney’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will hold a press conference Monday to address what they say is a growing prevalence of machine gun conversion devices across Texas.

The event is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed in this article.

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U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Topper for the ATF Houston Field Division will announce a joint initiative.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, the initiative is called Operation Texas Kill Switch, and it’s aimed at heightening awareness of the devices and increasing prosecution for anyone who manufactures, sells and possesses them.

The ATF has been warning of the increased prevalence of the devices, which can be made of metal or plastic and even printed with 3D printers.

They convert commercial handguns into automatic weapons. The switch itself is considered a machine gun because they allow a gun to fire multiple rounds with one trigger pull. In many cases, their firing power outpaces military-grade machine guns, Topper said.

He also said they have a particular appeal to young people and have contributed to deaths across the country.

The agencies are collaborating with local and state agencies to identify the devices.

They’re also asking the public to reach out to law enforcement if they are aware of someone with a switch.

From now until Aug. 31, Crime Stoppers will offer rewards of up to $5,000 for anonymous tips leading to the apprehension or prosecution of those who possess switches or 3D printers being used to manufacture them. Information may also be submitted directly to ATF online.

It’s illegal to own a conversion device and the charge could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.

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