Guns don’t kill people …

02/3/00

In your article on the Glock pistol, you refer to the February 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo by NYPD officers. The officers fired 41 bullets at the unarmed man, 19 of which hit their target. You point out that “all of the bullets were fired from Glocks.”

The real issue is over-aggressive cops, not “overfiring” guns. One could argue that if what you say is true, why isn’t Glock defending the reliability and reputation of its guns? Who is Gock’s main customer? Law enforcement. Glock is not going to alienate their largest customer base by saying the officers are trigger-happy. Knowing this and needing an excuse for their carnage, the cops blame the gun. It’s like a drunk driver blaming the car for running off the road and hitting someone.

Kevin Bailey


Quick question: If an officer or civilian has their finger on the trigger how can it be an accidental discharge? It cannot! It’s an excuse on the officers part and the department for lack of training.

Also, you point out that the Glock does not have a magazine disconnect or safety. Why would there be? The Glock cannot be fired unless the trigger is pulled.

Jerald Knapple


02/2/00

A Glock fires when the trigger is squeezed. That’s the ONLY way it goes bang. If a shot was fired out of a Glock, it was because an officer squeezed the trigger. The gun did what it should, it fired a bullet. Your “beef” is with the training of officers, not the gun itself.

It’s people like you who say things like, “A society without guns is great — look, only 3 deaths by guns in Japan last year.” You forget to tell people about the 30,000+ deaths in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan a year due to stabbing.

“Aggressive marketing towards law enforcement” — is that a bad thing? Do we not want well-armed police? Should we just give them a billy club and a whistle like they do in England? If that is what you want, then say so. Please don’t blame a gun company for the fact that you would like an unarmed police force.

Albert Yang


Your article contains some ridiculous statements about the Glock line of handguns. There is no way a Glock pistol in good condition and good working order could “go off accidentally”. It is a physical impossiblity. Any cop who says it happened is lying to protect himself from embarassment or prosecution. The absence of external safeties on the Glock means that you absolutely must keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. I think most of the cops who have accidentally shot themselves in the leg or foot probably had their finger on the trigger when attempting to reholster the weapon.

Nicholas Puryear


02/1/00

I was there in the heyday of Berkeley in the Sixties. The fight was good, the tear gas intoxicating to upper-middle class radicals. God, it was glorious.

Most of us don’t realize that “militia” referred to individuals in the days of the Bill of Rights. There was no National Guard, no organized militia. There were only disorganized farmers. The farsighted framers of the Constitution wanted the new Americans to always be able to oust fascism again, if necessary, even if it came from within, whether from the Right or the Left.

We of the Sixties all wanted to fight for our beliefs, to build a better country. Funny, but our beliefs now seem to end at the line at the gourmet counter, or watching the latest episode of The Sopranos. We’ve gotten a little lazy. We look to others to protect us. We look to others to protect our country.

We forget that we must always question authority. We must all remember that we individually are the last line of defense, for our families and our country.

The fear of guns belies the statistics. Guns save more citizens’ lives, by far, than they take through accidents, and those accidents are the fault of the gun owners, not the guns.

Let’s think calmly about our rights. Let’s think calmly about our safety and the safety of our families. 911 won’t work for you if your family is being attacked. Neither is there an effective 911 for our country. It comes down to us. Each of us. Do you want to trust that to a politician or a movement? I think I’ll put my faith in the Constitution. Particularly the Second Amendment.


01/31/00

I am an Air Force attorney (and a registered Democrat!) and I have no affiliation with the NRA or the weapons industry. Yet I still find your article on the Glock pistol troubling and irresponsible.

Why would any law-enforcement agency “hasten to defend the gun” if it were inherently unsafe? An officer who inadvertantly shoots himself or someone else would presumably rush to blame his weapon if the gun was in fact unsafe. The reason that the FBI (whose gloomy prophecies about the Glock are a cornerstone of the story) have largely adopted the Glock is that it is a highly-reliable, reasonably-priced weapon, and a perfectly safe one in properly-trained hands. These are likely the same reasons the gun has been used in several crime sprees, as your piece gleefully observes.

The city of New Orleans has an obvious self-interest in staining the good name of Glock and other weapons makers, as it works with the other cities you mention toward the litigation of their dubious products-liability suits against the gun manufacturers.

Capt. Anthony Edwards


In the “Light Triggers, Hefty Profits” article, you make the following statement:

“The gun cocks and arms itself as you pull the trigger to fire. That enables the shooter to fire multiple rounds in a much shorter time.”

The truth is that all modern handguns can be fired very quickly. All semiautomatic handguns cock and arm themselves each time you pull the trigger. (BTW: “Semiautomatic” doesn’t mean “similar to a machine gun,” but rather refers to the way the cartridge is brought into the firing chamber — from a magazine.) All modern revolvers function just like the Glock, except for the fact that they’re revolvers. This means that rather than pulling each successive round from a magazine when fired, the barrel rotates bringing a fresh round into the action.

In fact, what really sold many police officers on the Glock was that it is a semiautomatic (easier to maintain and has a larger capacity) that functions just like the (formerly) standard-issue police revolvers.

Dan Mayman


You say in your Glock article that “a gentle pull on the trigger cocks the gun and disengages the safeties.” Five to eight pounds is more force than just a gentle pull. The only difference between the double action revolvers most police had previously and the Glocks is about a 6-pound reduction. But there was never a manual safety on the double-action revolver.

Nobody wants a gun that goes off accidentally. The Glock wouldn’t be popular in the civilian market if it was not known as reliable. If you could show me hard evidence of civilian-owned Glocks experiencing similar problems, I would take your article more seriously.

Courtney Campbell


I have studied the mechanics and operation of the Glock pistol, and can tell you that there is simply no way the pistol will fire unless the trigger is pulled. Any and all accidental discharges of Glock firearms have occurred when the trigger was pulled. I agree that the numerous negligent discharges by law enforcement officers is a very serious issue, but it is the officers themselves, not their pistols, who are at fault.

Robbie Su


Glock pistols have been thrown, dropped, hammered, run over and subjected to every abuse imaginable without ever sustaining a discharge. The only time any Glock has ever fired is when the trigger is depressed.

Furthermore, you state that the Glock has a “hair” trigger. Hair triggers are defined as those that require less than 2 pounds of pressure to fire. The standard Glock trigger requires 5.5 pounds of pressure to fire. This is not a hair trigger. Additionally, as you have noted, Glock also offers triggers that require approximately the same trigger pressure as a revolver, should the ordering agency request it.

Stephen Whiteaker
Lakeville, MN

Editor’s note: We admit and have corrected our error regarding the definition of “hair trigger,” but dispute your definition of a hair trigger being 2 pounds or fewer. Our subsequent research indicates that the most widely accepted definition is 3.5 pounds or fewer.


As for Glock’s practice of taking old guns in exchange and reselling them, what’s the big deal? It’s not at all uncommon for a police department to trade its used and confiscated sidearms to local dealers in exchange for a better deal on a new purchase.

I think this article missed the most important issue: substandard training of law enforcement officers. I’m referring to a nation full of police that may get two-to-three hours of range time per year. I venture to say that the average civilian with a permit gets more practice than that.

Paul Allen