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30 rounds in 2 seconds | ATF demonstrates ‘extremely dangerous’ switches that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns

Federal agents said there's an uptick of converted fully automatic guns used in violent crimes in Houston and other major cities.

HOUSTON — Cellphone video captured the moment Houston police were forced into a Thursday afternoon shootout with a man suspected of fleeing a domestic disturbance. 

People near the intersection of McGowen and Hutchins street heard the rapid gunfire just before 3 p.m. yesterday. 

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner told KHOU 11 the responding officers believe the gunman was firing a fully automatic weapon.

The ATF agents working in Houston responded to the shooting and eventual stand-off between authorities and the gunman in Houston’s Fifth Ward. While ATF Houston is not able to comment on the weapon used yesterday, federal agents will confirm it is seeing more converted fully automatic guns used in during violent crimes in Houston and other major cities.

It's because of that uptick of usage in illegal conversion kits that ATF Houston invited KHOU 11 to its gun range for a demonstration on what the device does. It allows a gun to fire up to 30 rounds in as little as two seconds.


“These are the switches outside of a firearm,” explained Fred Milanowski, the Special Agent in Charge of ATF Houston. As he held up a small black device measuring about an inch in length and width. 

“This is what we want people to know and see.”

Milanowski confirmed, nationwide, the ATF has seen the switches on guns confiscated over the last six years. He also confirms within the last year, the usage of the fully automatic conversion switch has become more prevalent in Houston. 

“They’re extremely dangerous and people need to be aware of these. And that’s the only reason I’m talking with the media about this.”

Douglas Griffith is glad ATF Houston is getting the word out on the switches. Griffith is the President of the Houston Police Officers Union

“It’s a very tough time to be a police officer in this country right now,” in part because of the violence towards police. 

Just days before yesterday’s shooting, Harris County Precinct 5 Corporal Charles Galloway was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Investigators say the shooter fired so rapidly, within seconds of being pulled over, that Galloway was never even able to make it out of his vehicle. 

Authorities describe Galloway’s death as a "savage execution.”

“It should tell everyone that this is a serious situation,” said Griffith.

RELATED: Funeral arrangements announced for Cpl. Charles Galloway

RELATED: Timeline: What we know about 'savage' murder of Corporal Charles Galloway

ATF Houston is wanting the public to study various parts of a fully automatic conversation kit so that they can, “recognize what these devices are. So that if they see one on a partner’s gun or a friend’s gun," said Milanowski, "they recognize what this is and they destroy it or turn it in to ATF."

Federal agents just trained Houston Police on what to look for during traffic stops and while conducting search warrants. Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies are about to receive the same training.

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