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Chicago Announces First-Of-Its-Kind Lawsuit Seeking to Hold Glock Accountable for Manufacturing and Selling Pistols That Can Easily Be Turned Into Machine Guns Using ‘Glock Switches’


Fully Automatic Modified Glocks Increasingly Turning Up at Crime Scenes in Chicago and Across the Country; Over 1,100 Modified Glocks Recovered by Chicago Police from the Start of 2021 Through 2023.

CHICAGO – Today, the City of Chicago, alongside Everytown Law and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, announced a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Glock, the manufacturer of the most popular handguns in the United States, alleging that Glock is facilitating the proliferation of illegal machine guns on the streets of Chicago. The lawsuit alleges that Glock unreasonably endangers Chicagoans by manufacturing and selling in the Chicago civilian market semiautomatic pistols that can easily be converted to illegal machine guns with an auto sear–a cheap, small device commonly known as a “Glock switch.” The suit is the first to use Illinois’s new Firearms Industry Responsibility Act, passed and signed into law in 2023 to hold gun companies accountable for conduct that endangers the public. 

Filed earlier today in Cook County Circuit Court, the lawsuit reports that law enforcement personnel in Chicago have recovered over 1,100 Glocks from 2021 through 2023 that have been converted into illegal machine guns in connection with a wide variety of crimes, including homicides, aggravated assaults, batteries, kidnappings, burglaries, home invasions, carjackings, and attempted robberies. The lawsuit alleges that Glock knows it could fix the problem but refuses to do so, and the City is seeking a court order requiring Glock to cease sales of its easily converted pistols to Chicago civilians. The City also seeks penalties against Glock and damages for the harm that Glock has caused to the City.

“The City of Chicago is encountering a deadly new frontier in the gun violence plaguing our communities because of the increase of fully automatic Glocks on our streets,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “Selling firearms that can so easily be converted into automatic weapons makes heinous acts even more deadly, so we are doing everything we can in collaboration with others committed to ending gun violence to hold Glock accountable for putting profits over public safety.”

“Right now, anyone in the United States with $20 and a screwdriver can convert their Glock pistol into an illegal machine gun in just a few minutes,” said Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law. “We intend to hold Glock accountable for the unconscionable decision to continue selling its easily modified pistols even though it could fix the problem, knowing that by refusing to do so it is exacerbating gun violence in Chicago.”

“We are proud to partner with the City of Chicago and Everytown Law in this vital effort to enhance public safety and create a safer Chicago for all its residents,” said H. Christopher Boehning, partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

According to the complaint, the ease with which Glock pistols can be modified with Glock switches has gained national attention in the past few years for its unique and outsized role in worsening America’s gun violence crisis. The switches are the size of a quarter and are easily purchased illegally online for around $20 or manufactured at home using a 3D printer. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reported a 400-percent increase in recoveries of illegally modified machine guns from 2020 to 2021 and a 570-percent increase in auto sears from 2017 to 2021 as compared to the previous five-year period. Once installed, 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.

While machine guns have been heavily regulated and restricted for almost a century because of their extreme dangerousness, today’s lawsuit alleges that Glock’s refusal to take reasonable steps to prevent its readily available semiautomatic weapons from being easily converted has made it possible for criminals to arm themselves with fully automatic firepower. The lawsuit further alleges that Glock’s actions and failures to act have exacerbated a public safety crisis in Chicago. 

In Chicago, where officials have long worked to address the city’s gun violence epidemic, the complaint details numerous examples of fully automatic Glocks recovered in connection with serious and violent crimes. 

“Gun manufacturers like Glock must be held accountable for the irresponsible decision to continue selling firearms that can be easily modified and converted into weapons of war,” said Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood. “Our administration will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to protect Chicagoans from these weapons and the companies that continue to manufacture them.”

The lawsuit alleges that Glock unreasonably endangers Chicago residents and communities by continuing to sell a firearm that can easily be modified to an illegal machine gun, in violation of state and local law. The complaint also alleges that selling a weapon that can be so easily converted to an illegal machine gun and failing to take reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the problem, is an unfair business practice, is negligent, and creates, maintains, and contributes to a public nuisance. Further, the lawsuit alleges that Glock is aiding and abetting violations of the federal and Illinois prohibitions on the possession of machine guns. The lawsuit does not pertain to the sale of Glocks to law enforcement.

The City of Chicago Department of Law attorneys leading this suit are Stephen Kane, Deputy Corporation Counsel; Rebecca Hirsch, Assistant Corporation Counsel; and Chelsey Metcalf, Assistant Corporation Counsel.

The Everytown Law team representing the City of Chicago includes Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director and Chief Litigation Counsel; Alla Lefkowitz, Managing Director; Alison Barnes, Deputy Director; Nina Sudarsan, Counsel; and Carly Lagrotteria, Counsel.

The Paul Weiss team representing the City of Chicago includes Partner Christopher Boehning, and Associates Maria Eliot, Emily Sasso, and Sraavya Poonuganti.

More information regarding the specifics of this case can be found here.