Police targeting illegal guns on Atlanta streets

Contrary to popular belief, homicides and even shootings are down in the city of Atlanta, but what is on the rise is illegal guns on our streets.

Criminals use so-called switches and converter devices to turn legal weapons into machine guns.

High-power, rapid-firing machine guns should be used in war, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Atlanta Police say thanks to small switcher or conversion devices, machine guns have shown up more and more on the streets of major cities like Atlanta.

"This is a public safety issue. It can cause harm not only to law enforcement but members of the community," Special Agent Benjamin Gibbons of ATF said.

"These are devices that look small, but the danger they can do on a city street or in a city park is devastating," APD Chief Darin Schierbaum exclaimed.

APD says just over the last two months they have removed 65 of these illegal machine guns from the streets.

Many of these switches are homemade and can be produced with a 3D printer, others are bought from manufacturer overseas.

Lawmen are determined to get the upper hand as they fight to keep these dangerous weapons out of our neighborhoods.

"Devices that you were seeing today when an individual pulls the weapon, the shooting doesn’t stop until the rounds have depleted in the clip," The chief explained.

ATF says as many as 1,200 rounds can be involved in one firing. The effort to stop these guns involves local state and federal authorities.

"My office is committed to prosecuting anyone that has possession of these weapons,"

U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan of the Northern District of Georgia expressed.

Authorities say the possession of a machine gun is an automatic 10 years. Those who use those type of weapons are violating a federal crime, looking at 30 years to life in prison.