L.A. Cop Shot By His 3 Year Old Son – Then Sues Glock

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on July 12, 2008 at 1:01 am
LearnAboutGuns.com > Gun Related News > L.A. Cop Shot By His 3 Year Old Son – Then Sues Glock

As Mercury News reports, Enrique Chavez of Anaheim, CA was a Los Angeles police officer, until he left his loaded gun on the back seat of his pickup truck while driving with his 3 year old son. The young child picked up the gun and pulled the trigger, shooting Chavez in the back and leaving him paralyzed. Enrique Chavez then sued Glock, the holster manufacturer, and the retailer, alleging that their products were defective . My thoughts on this situation are discussed below:

External safeties on guns
I’ve previously discussed the question of whether modern pistols need external safeties and reached the conclusion that they do not. Those interested can read that article for the full story, but my thoughts are that external safeties are more of a liability than a benefit, and a vestige from the past when the internal workings of pistols were less reliable than they are today. Most importantly, no one should rely upon any mechanical safety features of the gun, but should instead follow the rules of gun safety to protect themselves any everyone around them.

The true party at fault
In my humble opinion, the shooting was not Glock‘s fault, but Enrique Chavez’s own fault. I’m of the mind that anyone who leaves a loaded gun within reach a 3 year old is is at the very least negligent, if not reckless or worse. It is bad enough when an ordinary citizen displays such a level of disregard for recognizable risks, but when a police officer does it is even worse. The police should be shining beacons of gun safety, setting an example for the rest of the citizens – not the causes of such completely preventable shootings.
Note that
Mr. Chavez still has my deepest condolences. A permanent injury like paralysis is tragic – but that does not entitle him to shift the blame to Glock, who made a gun that worked exactly as it should have when the trigger was pulled. Indeed, had the gun not gone off when the trigger was pulled, that would have been a defect, and one that could cost a police officer his life when confronting an armed criminal.  This truly is a case where personal responsibility should apply.

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  • BasinBictory

    What has been the outcome of Mr. Chavez' suits against Glock and the holster manufacturers?

    Although I am dismayed at his condition, I have little sympathy for his suits trying to extort money out of the gun and holster manufacturers.

    FWIW, I had a very long discussion on another forum where it was concluded that many police officers, contrary to public perception, are simply not gun enthusiasts. Cops are regular people, and while there are probably some who are great gun enthusiasts, there are also a great many who rarely fire their guns outside of their annual or semi-annual qualifications.

    Thus it would follow that a great many cops tend to be careless with their guns and irresponsible with their handling. Witness that DEA agent who shot himself in front of a classroom full of kids. Witness the many shootings cops have been involved in where they discharged many dozens of rounds of ammunition with zero hits on the suspect(s). Witness poor Mr. Chavez, now paralyzed for life due to irresponsible gun safety.

    Conversely, many gun enthusiasts who just happen to be regular civilians, frequent the range, strictly observe gun safety, and are, in short, probably much more competent and safe gun handlers than many typical cops or even military personnel. This is why I'm mildly offended whenever I hear some unthinking person remark with the tried and (un)true – "I believe only cops and soldiers should have guns."

  • Huck

    First of all, I am very sorry for what has happend to Mr. Chavez. I con not even begin to know how it would feel to be paralyzed for the rest of his life. My thoughts and prayers go to him and his family. But, I believe that not only should the suit against Glock (and the others) should not be allowed to make it to any court, but Mr. Chavez should be "sited", at least, as negligent for leaving the gun where a 3 year old can get ahold of it. You can believe that if I leave a firearm where one of my twin grandsons can get ahold of it and something bad happens, I would be the one facing charges. Not me suing the firearm manufacturer.

    Just my thoughts.