Federal agents, prosecutors going after machine-gun conversion devices in Tennessee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twenty-six people in Tennessee have been recently convicted or face charges for possessing “switches,” devices that convert semi-automatic firearms into a machine guns, which can be made with 3-D printers and bought on the internet, federal law enforcement officials said during a news conference Monday.

Federal investigators and local law enforcement officers in Memphis and Jackson have been trying to slow down the proliferation of switches as they work to stem a growing wave of gun violence, said Kevin Ritz, the U.S. attorney for the federal district in West Tennessee.

A Memphis native who was nominated by President Joe Biden and sworn in last September, Ritz said communities “are reeling from gun violence” — a problem worsened by the increased number of switches found in the region.

“Switches are illegal and highly dangerous devices that convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns,” Ritz said. “These devices threaten public safety and make the gun violence problem even worse.”

Seven of the 15 people who have been convicted of machine gun possession or other firearms-related crime have already received prison sentences of up to 8 1/2 years. Nine others have been charged with offenses related to switches, which make guns much harder to

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