First in the Nation: NY Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Prevent the Spread of Dangerous Modified Glock Machine Guns

The NY Chapters of Moms Demand Action & Students Demand Action hosted annual advocacy day as New York once again leads the nation in taking action to hold gun industry accountable for its role in our nation’s gun violence crisis

Albany, NY – Today, the New York chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements applauding New York state lawmakers for introducing a historic legislative package to hold the firearm manufacturer Glock accountable for enabling the spread of machine guns in our communities by refusing to redesign its pistols, which are uniquely susceptible to being converted into machine guns using auto sears, commonly known as “Glock switches.” 

Senator Myrie and Assemblymember Solages’ first-in-the-nation legislation (pending bill number) would prohibit the sale of semi-automatic pistols that can easily be modified in this manner. Senator Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon’s new bill (S7365-A /A10053) will 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. 

Lawmakers, survivors of gun violence, and advocates gathered for a rally ahead of their annual advocacy day to support gun violence prevention legislation, including these two bills. 

“Glock has for years refused to prevent its semi-automatic pistols from being easily converted into illegal fully-automatic machine guns – so we are taking action to force their hand. We have introduced legislation to prevent firearm manufacturers from designing and selling handguns that can easily be converted into machine guns,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “It’s too bad that gun manufacturers care more about their bottom line than about making a simple fix to prevent the spread of illegal machine guns in our communities. Thank you to my partner, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, and to Moms Demand Action, for working to prevent gun violence.” 

“Any business operating in New York State must take basic responsibility for its behavior in the marketplace. When an industry knows the harm its products are causing, but refuses to take meaningful steps to prevent it, government must step up to protect New Yorkers,” said Senator Zellnor Myrie. “This legislation will build on our historic, first-in-the-nation law that holds reckless and irresponsible gun companies accountable for their inaction. I’m proud to stand with Everytown and the grassroots leaders at Moms Demand Action and fight for a bill that puts public safety over the gun industry’s profits.”

“The Legislature must act decisively to address the vulnerabilities in Glock pistols, safeguarding our communities from the threat posed by illegally modified firearms. These bills will compel Glock to redesign their pistols to prevent such dangerous alterations if Glock wants to continue selling its pistols in New York,” said Assembly Member Michaelle Solages. “Fully automatic weapons are prohibited in New York, and there must be no room for circumvention. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to refrain from selling firearms prone to easy modification. The call for accountability is urgent and undeniable.”

“This innovative legislation is exactly what our movement has been fighting for — accountability for the industry that disregards public safety to drive up profits and refuses to make changes to keep deadly automatic weapons off the streets of our communities,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We’re thankful that these lawmakers are taking a critical step to force Glock to change its dangerous practices and keep illegal machine guns off of our streets. If Glock wants to keep selling handguns in New York, it must begin protecting human lives instead of corporate profits.”

“With the introduction of today’s bills, New York is taking another step towards ensuring that gun manufacturers are held accountable for facilitating the gun violence that is ravaging American cities,” said Nick Suplina, SVP of Law & Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “A semi-automatic handgun that can be easily converted into an illegal machine gun is deadly by design. Glock knows this but has refused to take action to fix the problem it created, choosing to protect its bottom line over lives. Now Glock is officially on notice: After decades of turning a blind eye, allowing their handguns to be converted into illegal machine guns, it’s time to take action or pay the price.”

“Today is an important step forward in the fight against gun violence and to hold firearm manufacturers accountable for their role in perpetuating this crisis in our communities,” said Alexis Gevanter, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “For too long, Glock has marketed and sold these handguns in our communities despite knowing that they can far too easily be converted into machine guns – weapons that have long been prohibited in New York. We’re grateful to our lawmakers for recognizing the need to strengthen our laws to further hold firearm manufacturers like Glock accountable for the pain they cause in our communities.”

For decades, Glock has known that its firearms are uniquely susceptible to being easily converted into illegal machine guns – with just a screwdriver and a $25 auto sear – and refused to do anything about it. With this new measure, New York lawmakers are telling Glock, loudly and clearly, that if they fail to take reasonable steps to fix this problem and to prevent these illegal conversions, they will be held accountable for the preventable acts of gun violence caused by their inaction. 

“Right now, for the same price as a large pepperoni pizza you can buy a device that transforms a regular pistol into a machine gun capable of firing 15 rounds in under two seconds. Gun makers like Glock know this easy option to turn regular pistols into automatic killing machines is available and they have done nothing to stop it,” said Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. “Because of Glock’s refusal to fix their guns, Glock switches allow criminals to quickly and easily create illegal automatic weapons that threaten the safety of our communities. That’s why we must pass the legislation I sponsor, along with Assembly Member Simon (S.7365A), to require all gun manufacturers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their pistols aren’t compatible with these machine gun conversion devices. Together with Senator Myrie and Assembly Member Solages’ bill, our legislation shows that New York won’t sit idle while Glock refuses to change the design of their pistols. We’re going to treat Glock pistols like the DIY machine guns they are, to reduce gun violence and make New York a safer place.”

A growing number of cities and states are examining Glock’s role in perpetuating and worsening the gun violence epidemic. In March of this year, the City of Chicago, partnering with Everytown Law, announced a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Glock, alleging that the handgun manufacturer is unlawfully facilitating the proliferation of illegal machine guns citywide. While machine guns have been heavily regulated and restricted for almost a century because of their extreme dangerousness, the lawsuit alleges that Glock’s refusal to take reasonable steps to prevent its readily available semi-automatic weapons from being easily converted has made it possible for criminals to arm themselves with fully automatic firepower. Twelve state attorneys general and the D.C. attorney general have since put Glock on notice, asking it to preserve documents related to its convertible pistols, an indication that they are investigating the issue.

New York is a national leader in gun violence prevention, with the second-strongest gun safety laws in the nation. In an average year, 939 people die by guns in New York, and another 1,991 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