1 of 2 | Attorney General Merrick Garland and ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach said the Justice Department last week filed a civil complaint against two companies in New York over machine gun conversion devices. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Justice Department said Friday that it filed a civil complaint in New York against two firearms companies for illegally selling machine gun conversion devices.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York said it filed the charges on Jan. 19 against Rare Breed Triggers, LLC and Rare Breed Firearms, LLC, known collectively as RBT, as well as the company's owner/operators Lawrence DeMonico, also known as Larry R. Lee, Jr., and Kevin Maxwell.
Federal prosecutors said in the complaint that the defendants sold thousands of FRT-15 devices to the general public. The devices are specifically designed and intended to be used to convert AR-15-type rifles into machine guns, making them illegal under federal law.
The Justice Department alleged that DeMonico, Maxwell and the companies conspired to defraud consumers and committed mail fraud and wire fraud through the sales.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the companies from selling the devices.
"The Justice Department will continue to do everything in its power to protect the American people from gun violence and to hold accountable those that flood our communities with illegal guns," he said.
Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the defendants flouted breaking the law despite repeated warnings.
"Machine guns are unlawful because they pose a threat to the public and they are increasingly a risk to law enforcement," Dettelbach said in a statement. "Ensuring that individuals and companies comply with the prohibition on selling machine guns is just one of many steps ATF is taking to address violent crime and protect our communities."