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Attorney General William Tong


Attorney General Tong to Glock: Preserve All Evidence Related to Pistol to Machine Gun Conversion

Gunmaker Faces Lawsuit from City of Chicago Over Switches That Turn Pistols Into Machine Guns

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong this week joined 12 other attorneys general in a letter to Glock, Inc. requesting the company preserve all evidence related to its line of Glock pistols, which can be easily converted into illegal machine guns with just one small, easy-to-make modification.

The states’ letter follows a City of Chicago lawsuit filed against Glock on March 19. Chicago alleges that Glock has known its guns may be easily adapted into machine guns with the addition of an auto sear—a cheap, small device commonly known as a “Glock switch.” The City suit states machine guns have become “a weapon of choice for criminals in Chicago.”

“The story that the complaint tells is of a company manufacturing and selling deadly weapons that were unreasonably dangerous in their design—in reckless disregard for public safety—choosing profits over responsible design choices,” Attorney General Tong and the coalition state in the letter. “The City of Chicago’s lawsuit claims that your choices constitute violations of multiple sections of the Municipal Code of Chicago, including through the unreasonable sale and marketing of firearms and unfair business practices; the creation of, maintenance of, and contribution to an ongoing public nuisance; and negligence. If the City’s factual allegations are true, your conduct may also involve violations of our States’ laws. We will not hesitate to enforce our laws when they are violated.”

Glock has known that the ability to carry out this do-it-yourself conversion is built into its handgun design, and has refused to make meaningful design changes to fix this problem, the lawsuit alleges. Chicago is seeking a court order requiring Glock to end sales of these easily converted pistols to Chicago civilians and to put in place reasonable controls, safeguards and procedures to prevent their unlawful possession, use and sale.

According to Chicago’s complaint, Glock switches allow pistols to fire up to 1,200 rounds per minute—a rate as fast as or faster than many fully automatic firearms and machine guns used by the United States military. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reports that more than 5,400 machine-gun conversion parts were seized between 2017 to 2021—a 570 percent increase from the prior five-year period.

To that end, the States are asking Glock to preserve all documents related to:

• the modification of Glock handguns, through the use of switches, to fire automatically, including but not limited to those converted handguns’ use in crime or violence, impact on public safety, or prevalence;
• how Glock pistols are designed and developed to function as a semiautomatic weapon, any efforts Glock may have taken or considered to reduce the capability to be converted easily, and the possibility of any design changes;
• Glock’s knowledge about all state and federal laws relating to Glock switches and converted Glock machine guns, their legal responsibility as a manufacturer of these guns, and whether they followed these laws and met their responsibility;
• Financial details about Glock pistols, including profits, manufacturing, and distribution costs, as well as expenses relating to alternative designs that were available or considered;
• Any public marketing or advertising related to Glock pistols, including any claims about their safety, lethality, modularity, semiautomatic function, or the speed at which they fire.

The other jurisdictions that signed the letter are Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
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