Glock-19: Investment In Personal Protection Or Killing Machine?

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

February 9, 2011 Updated Feb 9, 2011 at 6:34 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - The phrase goes that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

But the Glock-19 model is earning the dubious distinction of being a weapon of choice when it comes to gun violence.

It’s a subject Indiana’s NewsCenter explored in a special report entitled, "The Killing Machine".

Undoubtedly guns of all kinds are used to maim and murder.

But in the Virginia Tech and Tucson mass shootings, a Glock-19 fired the fatal rounds.

It has defenders and critics who favor new gun laws to lessen its risks to public safety.

Mark VanBurk/Gun Store Owner: " It's been our number one selling gun for four years."

Mark VanBurk with H & H Firearms says with consumers the Glock-19, on many fronts, hits the target.

He says at a price of $500.00, it doesn't break the bank.

The fact it's made of plastic and other synthetic materials makes it easy to carry and shoot.

It has a sterling performance record, and maybe most importantly, it accommodates high capacity ammunition magazines.

Jared Loughner, in the Arizona shooting spree, was capable of firing 33 rounds without re-loading.

Paul Helmke/Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence: " Now, they're the weapon of choice for mass killers."

Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, now head of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, insists the high capacity magazines need to be outlawed.

Paul Helmke: " We enable dangerous people to go out and kill humans in this country, that's wrong, that's sad, that's dangerous, and that's something that has to stop."

VanBurk says opposition to the Glock is misguided.

Mark VanBurk: " If a gun is sitting here, obviously, it's not going to do anything bad. You actually have to pull the trigger, like any other gun, so, I don't put any credence into it."

Jeff Neumeyer: " Statistics show nearly 70% of law enforcement agencies across the country have their officers carrying Glocks. But police commanders have some reservations about so many of those guns being in the hands of private citizens."

Specifically, they don't like that gang-bangers and other criminals are drawn like a magnet to the Glock-19.

A negative for law enforcement is that the rifling of the barrel makes it almost impossible to match a bullet to an individual weapon with ballistic tests.

The Chief Deputy of the Allen County Sheriff's Department is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, but wonders how the Glock's expanded firepower benefits personal protection.

Chief Deputy Dave Gladieux/Allen Co. Sheriff's Department: " How many rounds are needed to assure personal protection. Is it six rounds, is it ten rounds, is it 32 rounds? If it's 32 rounds, you're having a bad day. I don't see a need for civilians to be carrying 32 round magazines."

Helmke: " Our gun laws are so weak, virtually non-existent, that, in effect, we enable these people to do these sorts of shootings."

If the ammunition magazines were limited to ten rounds, it would force the shooter to stop to re-load earlier.

If the suspect is someone who's not very experienced, it could conceivably take him or her several seconds to be ready to fire again, maybe even giving someone else the opportunity during the pause to intervene.

There's a different argument against banning the legal sale of high capacity magazines.

Lawbreakers oftentimes don't go to stores to purchase guns and ammo anyway.

Last year, the Fort Wayne Police Department arrested 106 people for possession of a handgun without a license.

It’s hard to say how many others are packing heat but shouldn't be.

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