Hunter sues Cobb-based Glock Inc. over 'exploding gun'

A Massachusetts man says he suffered serious injuries from a Glock pistol – by aiming and firing it.

In another chapter of the never-ending legal travails of Glock Inc., a hunter from Springfield, Mass., has sued the Smyrna-based firearms manufacturer for $1 million in federal court over an "exploding gun" incident in 2012,  The Springfield Republican reported this week. Rodney MacDonald is also suing the ammunition manufacturer and the retailer who sold it.

MacDonald's lawsuit says he went hunting in Blandford State Forest with a group, and at some point, they put down their rifles and switched to target shooting with pistols.

Rob Abrams, left, shows customers a Glock 17 at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, where Glock Inc. is headquartered, in this 2010 photo. Massachusetts' attorney general launched a consumer protection investigation into the company last year, even though Glock can't sell directly to consumers there because its guns don't meet state safety requirements. BOB ANDRES BANDRES@AJC.COM

The plaintiff says he borrowed a Glock from another hunter and fired off two shots. When he pulled the trigger a third time, the gun blew apart in his face, spinning his body and knocking him to the ground, shrapnel hitting his face and body, according to the complaint. He suffered hearing loss and a leg injury, his attorney told a federal judge this week.

The hunter filed his lawsuit in 2015, but the case made news with its first hearing held Tuesday before a U.S. Magistrate judge.

Glock denies the allegations in the suit, and defendants in the case are suing each other, laying blame.

Meanwhile, the gun giant has had other problems in the Bay State.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launched a consumer protection probe last year into both Remington Arms Company and Glock, contending that Glock guns can go off by accident. Glock asked a judge to block Healey's requests for documents, which included records of complaints and recalls. But a superior court judge allowed her to proceed.

Glock's attorneys say the AG just wants "to harass an industry that the attorney general finds distasteful and to make political headlines by pursuing members of the firearm industry," according to The Springfield Republican.

Sydni Lee fires her Glock 19 at a gun range in Cumming in 2013. BOB ANDRES BANDRES@AJC.COM

Glock Inc. is the North American subsidiary of the Austria-based gun manufacturer. The company has been embroiled in controversy and litigation over the years.

Speaking of guns going off by accident, last year Glock reached a settlement with a retired LAPD officer who claimed that his weapon and hip holster were negligently designed, allowing his 3-year-old to get hold of the gun in the back seat of a vehicle and squeeze the trigger, paralyzing his father. The officer could have prevented the mishap with some "common sense," Glock countered.

This year, the company prevailed in a RICO lawsuit filed by founder Gaston Glock's ex-wife, Helga, who accused the gun tycoon and his associates of cheating her out of millions of dollars in a worldwide racketeering scheme involving money laundering, fraudulent billing and sham leases. An Atlanta federal judge dismissed the case.

Four years ago, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced he would not prosecute three men hired by the company to investigate an attempted takeover, which was so hostile it purportedly included an assassination attempt on the founder. An AJC investigation raised concerns about the case, because it had been hand-delivered to Smyrna police by Glock, and because the three men claimed to have knowledge of illegal activities within the corporation and its related companies.

Five years ago, former Glock Inc. CEO Paul Jannuzzo was sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring with another former executive, Peter Manown, to pocket millions from the company. Manown, who cooperated in the investigation, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years on probation.

The convictions were later overturned on appeal.

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About the Author

Johnny Edwards
Johnny Edwards
Johnny Edwards is a member of the AJC’s investigative team, focusing on the private sector and state and federal regulation. He has worked at the newspaper...