Two firearms manufacturers have filed suit against Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The companies are fighting to stop investigations seeking safety-related complaints about their products.
The two companies, Glock and Remington, argue that Healey is looking for anything she can use to pin a consumer safety case on to them, according to the lawsuits. Healey is an outspoken proponent for gun control and recently broadly and unilaterally expanded the state’s “assault weapons” ban. Healey claimed that manufacturers were using loopholes to get around the ban.
The lawsuits say that Healey’s office is demanding any and all documentation of consumer safety complaints and the companies’ responses. Healey cites a small number of negligent or “accidental” discharges by users as the reason for the investigation.
A negligent discharge occurs when a user disregards manufacturer and gun safety guidelines and unintentionally fires a gun. Healey argues that some gun manufacturers’ designs make users prone to disregard these guidelines.
Firearms manufacturers are exempt from Consumer Product Safety Commission investigations. Because of this, Healey’s office is making these demands from gun companies.
“This is the only product of its kind for which Congress has given the industry extensive freedom from liability,” said Healey, speaking at the White House. “That’s not right. The gun industry should be held to the same liability standards as the manufacturers and sellers of other consumer products.”
For many gun owners, these incidents represent a failure on the users’ part, and they can happen with all gun designs regardless of what types of safeties they employ. If users ignore the rules of gun safety, the repercussions are their responsibility.
Glock and Remington are not the only companies targeted by Healey’s investigation — they’re just the companies that filed suit against it. Both companies are some of the biggest names in the gun industry. Glock and Remington alike are two of the biggest manufacturers of law enforcement firearms and are mainstays in private shooting as well.
These companies’ guns are more likely to be involved with negligent discharges simply because their products are more common. Still, Healy cites at least three cases where their guns were on scene where someone was hurt through neglect.
“As the chief law enforcement office in Massachusetts, we are seeking that information to better inform our residents and to protect them from any safety or manufacturing issues with guns sold here,” said Healey’s communications director Cyndi Roy Gonzalez. “It’s unfortunate that these gun manufacturers have taken our office to court rather than comply with a simple request for consumer complaints and related information.”
See Also: NRA Gun Safety Rules
Healey’s investigation was promted by the recent discharges involving a retired Los Angeles police officer, a San Fransisco police officer and a 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 fellow deputy Sotero Santos for insight about 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.
Glock products may only be sold to law enforcement officers in the state of Massachusetts. However, Healey argues that because they may still find their way into the hands of the public — regardless of the ban — that her attorney’s office has a public responsibility to step in under state law.