A Massachusetts judge green-lit Attorney General Maura Healey’s investigation of gun manufacturer Glock over “consumer safety” reasons. A Democrat, Healey is spearheading gun control policy in Massachusetts in the name of reducing violence.
Massachusetts law bars the sale of Glock pistols with a few exceptions including law enforcement sales. Healey maintains that because some Glock pistol are available in the state that the investigation should move forward.
Healey’s investigation is targeting a range of gun manufacturers. Glock and Remington filed motions to deny Healey access to their records saying the investigation was overly broad.
Healey is looking for any information tied to injuries and deaths as a result of people handling — or mishandling — firearms. While Remington has been the target of several suits due to safety concerns Glock’s record is near spotless.
One argument against Glock is that their extremely popular and widely adopted design requires the pull of a trigger for regular maintenance. If a user does not unload and make safe prior to disassembling a Glock pistol they can fire a live round.
Glock is not the only gun manufacture that makes pistols that must be unloaded before cleaning. It’s common to many handguns that share similar features, even much newer designs competing for the same markets.
It’s commonly held among gun owners that when a live round is discharged unintentionally in this way that it is the result of gun owner negligence. Healey investigation is looking for evidence that gun manufacturers are at fault for user error in some way.
Healey is demanding all documents about gun and ammunition testing, product recalls, safety designs and testing, product warranties, and advertising and marketing. Glock argued that this information was not pertinent because it included information about out-of-state sales. A judge disagreed.
Massachusetts Judge Edward Leibensperger found that Healey has “good and sufficient grounds” to obtain these documents “based on safety and other concerns about Glock pistols owned throughout the commonwealth,” writes MassLive.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which allows our office to go forward with our inquiry into safety concerns about firearms manufactured by Glock,” Healey said in a statement. “The gun industry is effectively exempt from federal consumer product safety oversight, resulting in an unparalleled lack of transparency and accountability around this potentially dangerous consumer product. Our office is seeking information that will allow us to determine if these guns are safe and we will evaluate it on the same standard that we would apply to other manufacturers under state law.”
Glock products are common in particular because of how safe and easy they are to use. They have seen worldwide adoption among military, police and private shooters, making the polymer-framed striker-fired pistol the de-facto standard modern handgun.
Healey’s investigation revolves around three negligent discharges. One involving a retired Los Angeles police officer, another a San Fransisco police officer and a third Massachusetts man. In Los Angeles the retired officer and ex-Marine was shot and partially paralyzed by his 3-year-old son while driving with him in the back seat. The man, Enrique Herrera Chavez, blamed Glock’s design for lacking a grip safety.
In San Francisco deputy Rhonda Gaines brought a personally-bought “Baby Glock” to work. Gaines, unfamiliar with the gun, asked a fellow deputy, Sotero Santos, for help with it. Santos took the gun, pointed it past Gaines, and shot it at a cabinet inside the local hall of justice. Santos was unaware that the gun was loaded. No one was hurt and the round went through the cabinet and got stuck in a wall.
And in Massachusetts, Kiel Helenese shot himself in the leg at a Fourth of July party earlier this year. He apparently had the gun in his pocket and alcohol is believed to be involved. He was dancing when the gun discharged.
Gun owners will see this as a circular route towards even more gun control policies in Massachusetts. Earlier this year Healey expanded the state’s “assault weapons” ban to include a wide spread of semi-automatic firearms. Now she is taking the fight to include guns that are not even available to the public.