NATIONAL NEWS

Chicago sues gunmaker Glock over conversions to machine guns

Mar 19, 2024, 1:37 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago sued Glock Inc. on Tuesday, alleging the handgun manufacturer is facilitating the proliferation of illegal machine guns that can fire as many as 1,200 rounds per minute on the streets of the city.

The lawsuit alleges Glock unreasonably endangers Chicagoans by manufacturing and selling semiautomatic pistols that can easily be converted to illegal machine guns with an auto sear — a cheap, small device commonly known as a “Glock switch.” The switches are the size of a quarter and are easily purchased illegally online for around $20 or manufactured at home using a 3D printer.

The complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court is the first to use Illinois’s new Firearms Industry Responsibility Act, passed and signed into law in 2023 to hold gun companies accountable for conduct that endangers the public.

The lawsuit states police in Chicago have recovered over 1,100 Glocks that have been converted into illegal machine guns in the last two years in connection with homicides, assaults, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes.

The lawsuit alleges that Glock knows it could fix the problem but refuses to do so and seeks a court order requiring the company to stop selling guns to people in Chicago. It also seeks unspecified damages.

“The City of Chicago is encountering a deadly new frontier in the gun violence plaguing our communities because of the increase of fully automatic Glocks on our streets,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a news release.

“Selling firearms that can so easily be converted into automatic weapons makes heinous acts even more deadly, so we are doing everything we can in collaboration with others committed to ending gun violence to hold Glock accountable for putting profits over public safety,” Johnson said.

Joining the city in the lawsuit is Everytown Law, a Washington-based firm that seeks to advance gun safety laws in the courts.

“Right now, anyone in the United States with $20 and a screwdriver can convert their Glock pistol into an illegal machine gun in just a few minutes,” said Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law.

Phone messages were left with Smyrna, Georgia-based Glock seeking comment on the lawsuit.

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Chicago sues gunmaker Glock over conversions to machine guns