When the ATF Director Publicly Acknowledges That Gun Control Laws Don’t Really Apply to Criminals

by Tommy Grant

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At the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, machine gun conversion devices have become one of the top enforcement priorities. An ATF report on guns used in crimes found that the number of machine gun conversion devices seized by law enforcement went up 570% from 2017 to 2021, and officials say preliminary numbers from 2023 show another huge increase.

“New machine guns have been against the law in the United States since 1934, the days of Al Capone and the Tommy gun,” ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said. “But we’re seeing them all over the place … we’re talking about the rate of fire being 800 or even 1,000 or more rounds a minute. Think about how many bullets that is.”

He said conversion devices are increasing the danger to already-outgunned police officers and increasing the risk of stray bullets hitting bystanders. ATF firearms experts demonstrated the devices for NBC News at a law enforcement firing range in Washington, D.C.

“There are all kinds of different machine gun conversion devices that are incredibly deadly,” Dettelbach said. “Some of them just go on normal Glock-type handguns. This is, this is a Glock weapon, right? Doesn’t look like anything different. Right? This little square piece of plastic that comes off the back makes this into a fully automatic weapon that is capable of causing mass casualties.”

Converted handguns are extremely difficult to aim and control, he said.

— Ken Dilanian in A tiny and cheap device called a ‘Glock switch’ lets criminals create their own machine guns

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