A California state appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock Inc. by a Los Angeles policeman who was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son shot him with his service pistol.
Enrique Chavez claimed in his lawsuit that the Glock 21 lacked adequate safeguards against an accidental discharge because it had a light trigger pull and did not have a grip safety, a device attached to the pistol grip that the shooter must deactivate before firing.
A Los Angeles judge dismissed the suit two years ago, saying the Police Department had reviewed the gun’s design, including the amount of force needed to pull the trigger, and had found that its advantages outweighed any inherent risks. Judge Kevin Brazile also said Chavez had failed to show that an alternative design would have prevented the shooting.
But the Second District Court of Appeal said a jury could conclude, based on evidence offered by Chavez’s lawyers, that a grip safety strong enough to withstand a 3-year-old child’s grasp “would minimize the risk of accidental discharge without undermining performance.”