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‘Operation Texas Kill Switch’: How the state is cracking down on machinegun conversion devices


SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KVIA) -- U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza, whose district covers El Paso, announced a joint initiative with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Houston Field Division today aimed at addressing "the growing prevalence of machinegun conversion devices in cities across Texas."

The initiative is being dubbed "Operation Texas Kill Switch," and it offers cash rewards for information on people who own switches (a colloquial term for illegal machinegun conversion devices) or 3D printers used to make switches. This statewide initiative partners with Crime Stoppers to receive the information and distribute the rewards.

The announcement just happened in San Antonio, where Esparza and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Topper spoke together about the growing issue.

The Justice Department says law enforcement nationwide are coming across more conversion devices. In Texas from 2017 to 2023, agents seized 991 switches, 50% of those just last year, according to the DOJ.

DOJ officials characterize these devices as transforming firearms available in any gun store into automatic weapons capable of firing military-grade M4s.

“We’re here to talk about a roughly one-inch piece of plastic. It looks innocuous enough, a little like a lego or a k’nex block. But this one-inch piece of plastic is killing people,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “Machinegun conversion devices can turn Second Amendment-protected firearms into illegal weapons of war, and petty criminals into brutal killers. We cannot have our streets turned into war zones. We cannot – and we will not – allow switches to proliferate in north Texas.”

Article Topic Follows: Texas

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