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Two Men Arrested in Carjacking Used a Glock Handgun Modified with a Glock Switch, Reinforcing Need for Glock to Redesign its Handguns to Prevent the Proliferation of Illegal Machine Guns

June 18, 2024

Incident Highlights Importance of Landmark Legislation Passed Through Both Chambers of the New York State Legislature to Hold Glock Accountable For Refusing to Update its Pistol Design

NEW YORK – The New York chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statements after two men in New York were charged for the armed carjacking of the personal vehicle used by a sergeant for the New York Police Department (NYPD). While committing the offense, the men brandished two Glock pistols, both equipped with illegal high-capacity magazines, and one of which was equipped with an auto sear or “Glock switch” that converted it into a deadly, illegal machine gun. This arrest came days after lawmakers passed a historic piece of legislation that would help hold Glock accountable for enabling the spread of DIY machine guns in our communities by producing pistols that are uniquely susceptible to being illegally converted into machine guns. 

“Glocks are the weapon of choice for criminals, and for good reason: Glock has known for decades that its handguns can easily be converted into illegal machine guns with nothing more than $25 and a screwdriver, but has done nothing to stop it. Now, we’re once again seeing the dangerous consequences of Glock’s refusal to fix the problem: an illegal machine gun turned up at a crime scene in our city, and was used to threaten the life of an NYPD sergeant,” said Nick Suplina, Senior Vice President for Law and Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “The clock is ticking on Glock and its reckless business practices, and here in New York, our legislators are paving a new path forward to put Glock on notice and hold the company accountable for its role in creating – and perpetuating – this crisis.”

“It’s terrifying to think that just about anyone with a Glock-style pistol can build their own illegal machine gun. There are countless other examples where these DIY machine guns resulted in deadly tragedies, but Glock has turned a blind eye each and every time,” said Barry Graubart, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s long overdue that Glock be held accountable for enabling the proliferation of machine guns in our communities, and we’re grateful that our New York lawmakers have done just that by sending a bill that allows Glock to be held accountable in court to Governor Hochul’s desk. It’s time that Glock be held accountable for the outsized role that it plays in our gun violence crisis, and we urge Governor Hochul to sign this critical legislation into law.” 

“My generation already lives with enough fear – we shouldn’t be forced to live in fear of illegally modified Glock machine guns on our streets,” said Reem Khalifa, a member of the Students Demand Action National Organizing Board from New York. “Glock has known about this problem and ignored it because the company would rather make money than keep us safe. We need Governor Hochul to sign the bill on her desk that will hopefully, finally force Glock to fix the problem it caused. Our lives depend on it.” 

At the end of this year’s legislative session, lawmakers passed Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon’s legislation (S. 7365-B/ A. 10053-A) to update New York’s landmark gun industry accountability law to explicitly require firearm manufacturers to take steps to ensure their handguns cannot be easily turned into machine guns with Glock switches. This bill is another step forward in holding gun makers like Glock accountable for enabling the spread of machine guns in our communities by producing pistols that are uniquely susceptible to being converted into machine guns using auto sears commonly known as “Glock switches.” It is now headed to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk, where we and other advocates are urging her to sign it into law. 

New York lawmakers also introduced a first-in-the-nation bill S.9225/A.10194 this session that would further pressure Glock to finally fix its especially dangerous design, which has enabled the spread of machine guns in our communities. Introduced by Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, this bill would prohibit future sales of Glocks and any other semi-automatic pistols that can easily be turned into machine guns simply by installing a Glock switch. 

According to research conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Glock is the nation’s number one manufacturer of crime guns. On average, over 1.5 times more Glocks were recovered at crime scenes than the second-leading manufacturer across the collected data. 

Glock handguns are uniquely easy to convert into illegal machine guns using “Glock switches.” Glock has allegedly been aware of this lethal vulnerability for decades but has done nothing to update its pistol design. Make no mistake, this is an issue unique to Glock. Pistols made by other large manufacturers require extensive engineering beyond the average person’s capabilities to convert their handguns into machine guns but a Glock handgun can easily be converted into an illegal machine gun with a $25 Glock switch and screwdriver. Glock has been able to profit from this design feature, as the company’s pistols are a go-to for criminals looking to circumvent federal law.

“Glock switches” are cheap, small devices – roughly the size of a quarter – that 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. These devices pose a particular threat to law enforcement officers. Glock switches have been used in shootings that injured or killed law enforcement officers across the country, including in Mississippi, Texas, and Colorado

But, the clock is ticking on Glock’s reckless business practices. The City of Chicago, represented by Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, recently filed suit seeking to hold Glock accountable for the spread of illegal machine guns across the city. Additionally, lawmakers in New York recently introduced historic legislation that would prohibit the future sales in New York of any semi-automatic handguns  — like Glock pistols and their clones — that can be converted into fully automatic machine guns simply by the installation of a Glock switch. Recent legislative efforts to prevent the proliferation of Glock switches have been bipartisan. Just this year, Republican governors in Virginia and Mississippi signed legislation into law to regulate these conversion devices. To date, 23 states across the country have passed laws that ban or regulate Glock switches and similar machine gun conversion devices. 

In March, a coalition of attorneys general from twelve states and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to Glock, calling on the company to preserve documents related to its pistols being able to be converted into machine guns, an indication that the states and D.C. may be investigating whether the sale of such easily modifiable guns violates their laws.

In an average year, 960 people die by guns in New York, and another 2,841 are wounded. Gun deaths and injuries cost New York $11.4 billion each year, of which $301.2 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in New York can be found here

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