Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reintroduced bipartisan legislation to combat the increased use and proliferation of dangerous gun conversion devices. The legislation would help tackle the ongoing gun violence epidemic by requiring federal law enforcement to coordinate efforts to prevent the importation and trafficking of ‘auto-sears’ – illegal gun modification devices that can convert semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic weapons.
“Law enforcement must do more to protect our communities from gun violence by stopping the flow of illegal gun modification devices into and throughout our country,” said Senator Peters. “This bill will enhance coordination across law enforcement agencies to prevent these dangerous and deadly devices from being used.”
Auto-sears and other gun conversion devices can be installed in about a minute, and 3-D printed or purchased online for less than $20. News reports have found that federal prosecutions involving gun conversion devices have increased over eight-fold from 2017-2021. The same reports found that that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) seized 1,500 weapons modified with auto-sears in 2021, a five-fold increase from the year before.
The Preventing Illegal Weapons Trafficking Act would direct the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of the Treasury to develop a coordinated national strategy to prevent or intercept the importation and trafficking of automatic gun conversion devices. The legislation would ensure that proceeds from the illegal trafficking of automatic gun devices are subject to forfeiture. The bill would also require the Attorney General to include data and information about illegal gun modification devices in the Justice Department’s annual firearms trafficking report.