Why New York's Proposed Glock Ban is Especially Stupid

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

New York state is looking to ban Glock pistols.

Well, not necessarily just Glocks, but any pistol that can be converted into a machine pistol. Glocks are just the guns that are both extremely popular and able to be converted, which lawmakers there know.

It's a stupid proposal, to say the least. Glock has done nothing wrong, though some idiots seem to think they should revamp a proven design so as to prevent people from doing something that's already illegal.

But they're also trying to ban Glocks in general.

Over at America's 1st Freedom, they take a look at the burning stupid of that bill.

At issue is the so-called “Glock switch,” a piece of metal or plastic that can be used to illegally convert Glock pistols to fire full-auto, as opposed to the normal, as-manufactured-and-sold semi-auto function of the popular handguns. In a nutshell, a “Glock switch,” or “Glock auto-sear,” is a small piece of metal or plastic that someone could make and illegally attach to the rear of the slide of a Glock to convert it to full-auto fire. The switch works by applying force to the trigger bar to prevent it from limiting fire to one round of ammunition per trigger pull. 

The name is intentionally misleading, since Glock doesn’t make the switches; also, converting any firearm to fire full-auto is a federal felony, and even possession of a “Glock switch” could land you in federal prison for 10 years.

Not surprisingly, however, gun-control advocates want to ban the gun instead of arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating those breaking the law. That is like banning Ford F-450s because some owners delete the diesel emission fluid system on the trucks in violation of federal law.

That's actually an excellent analogy.

We may ban certain actions because of the harm they cause, but we don't typically blame companies for their products being manipulated and used in an illegal fashion. It's not their fault, after all, and while we often prosecute negligence, which doesn't require fault, something that works like it's supposed to but can be monkeyed with by a third party into operating illegally isn't negligence. 

That means Glock would need to be at fault for what these people did, and the company isn't. Just like Ford isn't at fault because people screw with the emission system on the Ford F-450.

Moving on...

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says criminals converting handguns to fire full-auto has become a growing problem. In fact, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), from 2017 to 2021, over 5,000 machine gun conversion devices were recovered in the U.S., a large increase from the 814 recovered between 2012 and 2016.

That said, using a “Glock switch” to make a gun fire full-auto is already against the law, as previously mentioned. And the proposed “remedy” of outlawing the pistols altogether isn’t the appropriate way to get the devices off the street.

First, New York should be well aware that even if they ban the guns entirely, criminals will just traffic them in from elsewhere.

Further, firearms equipped with a full-auto switch are pretty obviously modified. You can't even use the excuse that police aren't able to tell so blanket arrests solve the issue. They really don't.

Even if one were able to convince me that this is the correct course of action, there's a bigger issue.

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA), sees the legislation as just another misguided attempt by gun-control advocates to blame an inanimate object rather than violent criminals.


King said that what is not included in the legislation might actually be more dangerous than the provisions within the measure.

“The thing that bothers me most is that there’s nothing in there that really grandfathers the guns that have already been sold,” he said. “That law is going to make it possible for lawmakers sometime a little bit later to say, ‘All of the Glocks that have been sold over the past 40 years have to be retrofitted so that they can’t become fully automatic or we’re going to confiscate them.’ People might say, ‘Well, that will never happen.’ But look what happened with ‘assault’ weapons.”

That is a big issue.

Let's remember that Glocks are probably the most popular handgun in the country today. They're relatively affordable without being cheap, they're dependable, there's tons of aftermarket support, and they're nearly ubiquitous in popular culture.

In short, they have everything going for them to be incredibly popular.

There are hundreds of thousands of them in New York state, at a minimum. Probably more like millions of them.

Without a grandfather clause, all of those guns--firearms that were lawfully purchased and used lawfully ever since--will be in jeopardy.

I get where King is coming from, too. You can try to claim it won't really be an issue, but New York's SAFE Act is a glaring example of what the state will try to do if it gets half a chance. They will demand at least something that gun owners won't like, and my guess is that the firearms be modified in some manner.

Yet the state won't care if those modifications make the guns less reliable, less concealable, or anything else.

My hope is that even for anti-gun lawmakers in New York, this turns out to be too much, too soon and the bill goes nowhere.

If not, then New York can go right back before the courts. They're starting to get pretty good as being sued.