Chicago Takes Glock To Court Over Alleged Illegal Gun Conversions

Chicago is suing the firearms manufacturer Glock, claiming that the company’s pistols are readily converted into cartel-style machine guns, purportedly fueling the city’s epidemic of gun violence. On March 19 2024, in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, lawyers representing Chicago levelled charges of negligence against Glock, seeking compensation and damages resulting from the flow of unregistered weapons onto the city’s streets.

In coordination with Everytown for Gun Safety, Chicago filed a lawsuit under Illinois’s Firearms Industry Responsibility Act. More than 1,100 Glocks converted with the high-capacity magazines were seized by law enforcement since 2021 according to a statement issued by Johnson’s office. The firearms have been linked to hundreds of crimes, including homicides, assaults, burglaries and carjackings.

Speaking at a press conference, Mayor Johnson said: “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.” The lawsuit highlights how easily Glock handguns can be turned into machine guns through after-market devices called ‘auto sears’ or ‘Glock switches’, small and inexpensive accessories that are commonly smuggled from overseas and allow these handguns to fire at high fire rates. Such devices are being sold online, illegally, or by using 3D printers, according to the lawsuit. Detailing the arguments of the City’s suit, the mayor stated, “Criminals armed with modified Glocks are emboldened because of their military-grade firepower, and they kill and injure more people, increasing the terror felt by ordinary Chicagoans.”

Although Glock has yet to file a response to the lawsuit, the company has previously rejected criticisms for being held responsible for any illegal modifications of their firearms. However, Chicago contends that Glock is fully aware of the issue and has chosen not to take adequate steps to address it, thereby violating state and federal laws.

The suit asks not only to stop Glock sales in Chicago but also to pay an unspecified amount for the harm caused by the city’s large population of illegal machine guns. “Selling firearms that can so easily be converted into automatic weapons makes heinous acts even more deadly,” Mayor Johnson said.

This lawsuit comes at a time when violence and crime in Chicago and other cities, with Democratic lawmakers making drastic moves in attempts to curb the violence. If Chicago wins this lawsuit, it will set a stark precedent for firearms manufacturers and likely embolden legislative efforts to restrict firearms purchases.

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