For nearly a century, it has been illegal to sell or own a machine gun in the United States without a special permit from the federal government and a hefty tax. The weapons can fire up to 800 rounds per minute in some cases — more than 15 times faster than semiautomatic guns, which shoot just one bullet with each pull of the trigger. Their lethality has made machine guns highly coveted among criminals, who have long sought ways to replicate their power. 

As The Trace has reported, in lieu of buying the heavily regulated weapons, people are opting to convert their semiautomatic guns to fire more rapidly. Conversions largely depend on trigger modifications or on thimble-sized devices called auto-sears, which can be purchased online for as low as $20 and can take just seconds to install. The conversion devices enable semiautomatic guns to fire near the rate of fully automatic guns. In the past five years, law enforcement agencies across the country have recovered the parts by the thousands.

On Tuesday, though, the United States government may have won an important battle in its campaign to prevent such conversions from hitting the market. In a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, a judge agreed to issue an injunction blocking Rare Breed Triggers, LLC, from selling “forced reset triggers,” which can enable rifles to fire faster than military-grade M16 machine guns. Rare Breed had declined to seek classification of the product from the ATF, the judge wrote in a 129-page opinion, because the company “knew that allowing ATF to examine their device before bringing it to market might kill their proverbial golden goose.” 

What to Know Today

As schools face heightened risk of on-campus gun violence, districts are responding with a curious safety focus: backpacks. “Rather than tackle its gun laws,” writes Gabriela Riccardi, “the U.S. elects to tackle its schoolbags.” [Quartz

Two White Sox fans were wounded by gunfire while sitting in the bleachers at a game last month. Police still haven’t determined where the shots came from, but the team is pushing the theory that the gunfire came from outside the stadium — and the circumstances are strikingly similar to several other shootings at major league ballparks. [Chicago Sun-Times

Tennessee state Representative Gloria Johnson, one of the Democratic lawmakers reprimanded for participating in a gun violence protest on the House floor earlier this year, is running for U.S. Senate. Johnson is taking on Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, who has represented the deep-red state since winning her seat in 2018. [NBC

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is resigning after a tumultuous three-and-a-half-year tenure marked by escalating levels of gun violence and homicide, mass racial justice protests, and the pandemic. [The Philadelphia Inquirer] Context: Critics have held District Attorney Larry Krasner responsible for increased violence in Philadelphia. Why did Outlaw get the benefit of the doubt

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, has spent his time in office blocking police reform and waging a “war on crime” in the state’s majority-Black, Democratic-led cities. Now a gubernatorial candidate, Landry appears to be conducting a crusade against cities’ political power. [Bolts

Data Point

57 — The number of instances involving students disciplined for having a firearm at school in Marion County, Indiana, schools last year. [IndyStar]