City of Chicago files lawsuit against Glock gun manufacturer: 'Putting profit over public safety'

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Thursday, March 28, 2024
City of Chicago files lawsuit against Glock firearm manufacturer
The City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against the Glock firearm manufacturer over easy, cheap and illegal full-auto gun conversion devices.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago city officials are hoping legal firepower against a gun manufacturer will do what law enforcement can't: stop the easy and cheap conversion of Glock pistols into machine guns with the installation of a small part and the flip of a switch.

The lawsuit in Cook County court aims to force Glock into retooling it's guns to make such illegal conversion more difficult.

Crime scenes across the city and suburbs have been increasingly littered with dozens of spent ammo, often from a Glock pistol. With a simple addition of a button-like device, the firearm is transformed in to a fully-automatic machine gun.

The ABC7 I-Team's reporting on the problem with gun switches, also known as auto sears, is among the items cited in the lawsuit filed by city attorneys.

READ MORE | Chicago area shootings made more dangerous by cheap, easy to buy 'gun switches'

The lawsuit against the Glock corporation, headquartered in Georgia, alleges that Glock executives knowingly make a product that can be easily converted into an illegal, full-auto weapon. It is the first suit of its kind under a new Illinois law to hold gun makers accountable.

"Folks are putting profit over pain and putting profit over public safety," Chicago Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood said.

He explained how the city suit shows how Glock could change its gun production to defeat the use of machine gun switches.

"CPD has been able to recover over 1,100 of these handheld illegal machine guns over the last two years," Gatewood said. "1,100 of those... that's a stark number. That's a lot of carnage and the fact that their gun in particular so easily modifiable is one of the major reasons we looked at Glock."

And a new letter signed by attorneys general from 12 states puts Glock on notice that those states may also take legal action over the use of so-called Glock switches, even though Glock doesn't actually make them.

SEE ALSO | Illinois assault weapons owners must register guns after judge declines to stay ban

Former federal prosecutor and Chief ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said new-fangled lawsuits could succeed where others have failed.

"It does bring pressure against the gun manufacturer," Soffer said. "The reality is they're facing new liability, or at least the prospect of new liability and new theories. Now not only in the city of Chicago, but far beyond across the United States and certainly ups the ante here."

The I-Team has not yet received a response from Glock executives, and no attorney has filed an appearance yet in Cook County on behalf of Glock.

According to the county docket, there isn't a court date in the case until mid-July.