COLUMBUS, Ohio — Law enforcement agencies across the country, including here in Columbus, are seeing a rise in the number of dangerous devices used to turn handguns into machine guns.
U.S. ATF Director, Steve Dettelbach, was in town this week to announce efforts to help Columbus police curb gun violence. That’s when he revealed details of this concerning trend.
It's a small piece of plastic. It can be made with a 3D printer. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives -- it can give a handgun more power.
“In the last five years, the number of machine gun conversion devices that law enforcement agencies reported being recovered has increased by 570%,” said Dettelbach.
Dettelbach revealed a detail that will soon be released in a new report. It’s the ATF’s first crime gun trafficking report in 20 years. He said the report will include a warning about the increasing use of machine gun converters.
Director Dettelbach said he's heard from local law enforcement that this new threat is here in Columbus.
“Those weapons are as Congress said unusually dangerous. They're for the military and the government. Yet individuals have misused technology, including 3D printers, to convert semi-automatic weapons which are legal, into fully automatic machine guns which are not,” he said.
The ATF is taking action to intercept this dangerous device in communities across the country.
“That is why the ATF has formed the emerging threats unit a national unit that will focus specifically on these new kinds of technological threats that break the law."
The new ATF report could be released as soon as next week.