Chicago suing gunmaker Glock for selling easily convertible weapons

The firearms can be turned into machine guns for as little as $20, the lawsuit says

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 19 March 2024 22:32 GMT
Chicago sues gunmaker, blaming manufacturer for increase of illegal machine guns

The City of Chicago is suing gun manufacturer Glock after law enforcement found more than a thousand firearms which had been converted into illegal machine guns over the past two years.

The Austrian company is the most popular manufacturer of handguns in the United States, the city said, but is also facilitating the “proliferation of illegal machine guns on the streets of Chicago”.

The lawsuit, filed with the Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that Glock is selling semi-automatic pistols which are easily converted into machine guns using a cheap device known as a “Glock switch”.

“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 statement.

“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.”

Chicago Police Department and other agencies have found around 1,100 illegal machine guns linked with crimes including aggravated assaults, kidnappings and homicides.

The switches enabling these conversions can be bought for as little as $20, the suit says, or made at home using a 3D printer.

“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,” Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law, added.

“We intend to hold Glock accountable for the unconscionable decision to continue selling its easily modified pistols even though it could fix the problem, knowing that by refusing to do so it is exacerbating gun violence in Chicago.”

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Illinois has among the strongest gun safety laws in the US but continues to experience “an unacceptable rate” of gun violence.

An average of 1,622 people die by gun violence in the state every year, making it the 35th-highest state for gun-related deaths.

Between 2020 and 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported a 400% increase in recoveries of illegally modified firearms.

The lawsuit claims that Glock’s refusal to take “reasonable steps” to prevent its weapons from being so easily converted is putting public safety at risk in Chicago and elsewhere.

“Gun manufacturers like Glock must be held accountable for the irresponsible decision to continue selling firearms that can be easily modified and converted into weapons of war,” Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood added in the press release.

“Our administration will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to protect Chicagoans from these weapons and the companies that continue to manufacture them.”

Glock did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent on Tuesday afternoon.

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