NJ AG Leads Coalition Telling Glock to Keep Evidence Related to Firearms’ Easy Conversion Into Machine Guns

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Attorneys General for 10 other States and the District of Columbia have told Glock, Inc. to preserve all evidence related to its line of Glock pistols, which can be easily converted into illegal machine guns with just one small, easy-to-make modification.

The States’ letter to Glock was sent in the wake of the gunmaker being sued by the City of Chicago. In that lawsuit, filed March 19, Chicago alleges that Glock has known that the guns can be easily adapted into a machine gun with the addition of an auto sear—a cheap, small device commonly known as a “Glock switch.” The City said that machine guns have become “a weapon of choice for criminals in Chicago.”

“Glock has known that the ability to carry out this do-it-yourself conversion is built into its handgun design, and has refused to make meaningful design changes to fix this problem, the lawsuit alleges. Chicago is seeking a court order requiring Glock to end sales of these easily converted pistols to Chicago civilians and to put in place reasonable controls, safeguards, and procedures to prevent their unlawful possession, use, and sale.”

“Turning a pistol into a deadly machine gun should not be as easy as fitting Lego pieces together,” said Attorney General Platkin. “If Chicago’s allegations are true, it would be difficult to think of a better example of a company choosing bloody profits over public safety by ignoring more responsible design choices. Numbers don’t lie, and these modified weapons are being recovered by law enforcement at levels that are frankly shocking.”

“According to Chicago’s complaint, Glock switches 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. Yet the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reports that more than 5,400 machine-gun conversion parts were seized between 2017 to 2021—a frightening 570% increase from the prior five-year period.”

“Machine guns have been heavily regulated and restricted for decades because of their obvious lethality,” said SAFE Director Ravi Ramanathan. “The allegations in Chicago’s lawsuit are disturbing and, if they are true, Glock is unreasonably endangering city residents by continuing to sell a firearm that can easily be modified for conversion into an illegal machine gun.”

Both New Jersey and Illinois have laws that seek to protect the public by holding gun companies accountable for their actions.

The letter says that, if Chicago’s factual allegations about Glock are true, Glock’s conduct “may also involve violations of our States’ laws. We will not hesitate to enforce our laws when they are violated.” To that end, the States are asking Glock to preserve all documents related to:

  • the modification of Glock handguns, through the use of switches, to fire automatically, including but not limited to those converted handguns’ use in crime or violence, impact on public safety, or prevalence;
  • how Glock pistols are designed and developed to function as a semiautomatic weapon, any efforts Glock may have taken or considered to reduce the capability to be converted easily, and the possibility of any design changes;
  • Glock’s knowledge about all state and federal laws relating to Glock switches and converted Glock machine guns, their legal responsibility as a manufacturer of these guns, and whether they followed these laws and met their responsibility;
  • financial details about Glock pistols, including profits, manufacturing, and distribution costs, as well as expenses relating to alternative designs that were available or considered;
  • any public marketing or advertising related to Glock pistols, including any claims about their safety, lethality, modularity, semiautomatic function, or the speed at which they fire.

The other jurisdictions that signed the letter are the States of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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