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City of Chicago v. Glock, Inc.

By: Emma K. Wittmann, Esq.

April 30, 2024

City of Chicago v. Glock, Inc.

 

On March 19th, 2024, the City of Chicago filed a civil complaint against Glock, Inc., accusing the gun maker of knowingly selling pistols that can easily be converted into machine guns by adding an after-market part called an auto sear or “Glock Switch.” The City of Chicago alleges that this auto-sear, after-market piece, enables individuals who own a Glock pistol to switch the gun between semiautomatic and fully automatic firing.

The complaint states that Chicago police have recovered more than 1,100 Glock pistols with the modification auto sear in a two-year period. This after-market part ranges between $20-25 and is being imported from overseas and made domestically, some even being made on 3D printers. To be clear, the auto sear or “Glock Switch” is not made by Glock and has no affiliation with Glock, Inc.

The Complaint provides examples of crimes where Glocks with the auto sear were recovered such as drive-by shootings and homicides. The complaint even tries to draw comparisons to the Tommy Gun, saying the Glock pistol with the auto sear attachment is equivalent to the Tommy gun, referring to them as the “go-to weapon for Chicago criminals” and that the “machine gun has returned as a weapon of choice for criminals in Chicago.” The complaint did not mention if the individuals these weapons were seized from were legal firearm owners or prohibited possessors with a criminal history. The complaint also failed to say if the Glocks seized from these crime scenes were direct purchases from Glock in the City of Chicago, or if they were purchased from a private seller or otherwise.

The City of Chicago made multiple claims for relief in their civil complaint.

First, Chicago is alleging unreasonable sale and marketing of firearms under the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act which provides that it is unlawful for “any firearm industry member, through the sale, manufacturing, importing or marketing of a firearm-related product” to “[k]nowingly create, maintain, or contribute to a condition in Illinois that endangers the safety or health of the public by conduct either unlawful in itself or unreasonable under all circumstances.” 815 ILCS 505/2BBBB(b)(1).

Next, Chicago alleges Unfair Practice, stating that Glock’s knowing practice of manufacturing, selling, and marketing pistols that are easily converted to illegal machine guns offends public policy. Chicago also alleges Public Nuisance, stating that Glock is endangering Chicago residents, and alleges Negligence, stating that Glock had a duty to exercise reasonable care in distributing and selling firearms and to refrain from engaging in any activity creating a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury to others. A breach of such duty constitutes negligence.

The City of Chicago is requesting several forms of relief, including enjoining Glock from marketing of selling pistols in Chicago to non-law enforcement consumers, ordering Glock to implement controls (in other words, change the design of the Glock), and requesting monetary relief through damages, fines, and cost of all investigations that Chicago police conducted in relation to serious crimes where the auto sear piece was used.

Questions for the reader:

  • Do you think Glock is responsible for how their product is changed or manipulated by after-market parts?
  • Do you think Glock should have to redesign their product to make it more difficult for consumers to add after-market parts?
  • Do you think the City of Chicago is entitled to the relief requested, including paying for all investigations conducted by the City of Chicago where this aftermarket part was used?
  • If the City of Chicago is successful in its suit, do you think this case will infringe on legal gun owner’s rights in the City of Chicago?

Write to us and let us know your thoughts.

Read the full complaint here: City of Chicago v. Glock, Inc. Complaint

Emma K. Wittmann, a dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney and author on the Attorneys On Retainer blogs, tirelessly defends clients in felony cases with aggression and expertise, ready to advocate for you.

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