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.