Gaston Glock’s Image

GLOCK - The Rise of America’s Gun
GLOCK - The Rise of America’s Gun
USA –-( Image has long played a big role in the remarkable success of the Glock pistol in the United States and around the world.

As I describe in my new book, GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun (Crown), the handgun’s adoption as the unofficial firearm of Hollywood brought it to the attention of people far beyond law enforcement and serious gun-owning circles.

Second Amendment advocates fell in love with Glock because the company was singled out for hostile attention by gun controllers, beginning with the phony “Hijackers’ Special”/plastic pistol controversy of the late 1980s and continuing with the magazine – capacity restrictions in the 1994 assault weapons “ban”- restrictions that were aimed in no small part at the large-capacity Austrian semiautomatic.

Glock GmbH and its American unit, Glock Inc., marketed a product that symbolized both law and order, when in the hands of cops and homeowners, and sexy disorder, when wielded by bad guys in movies and on television.

“Gangsta” rappers glamorized Glock, too (it rhymes with a lot of useful rap words).

Now, however, Glock has some image problems. First on its list public relations headaches is the embarrassment generated by a scandal involving alleged statutory rape that rocked the highly regarded Glock professional shooting squad. Here is some background information about the Team Glock fiasco:

This is obviously not the kind of edgy attention that Glock would want. Many gun owners have expressed consternation about the situation: Here is one example:

Glock faces additional questions raised by the imminent criminal trial of Paul Jannuzzo, Glock Inc.’s former chief operating officer and lead in-house lawyer in the United States. All through the 1990s and into the 2000s, Jannuzzo served as a savvy executive, helping to sell Gaston Glock’s wares and protect the company against legal attacks (of which there were many).

Today, Jannuzzo faces state criminal charges in Georgia that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former employer. Glock brought the case to the authorities in Cobb County, Ga., and encouraged that Jannuzzo be prosecuted.

Jannuzzo, in turn, has alleged that the investigation and prosecution amount to a vendetta stemming from personal acrimony with Gaston Glock. Moreover, Jannuzzo, who is in custody pending a February trial date, says that he knows about all manner of financial and tax infractions committed by the Glock corporate empire.

I explore the background and significance of this affair in my new book, GLOCK, where I show how remarkable it is that the company has continued to profit even as its management ranks have been tainted by alleged misbehavior. (Jannuzzo is not the only former Glock lawyer to face criminal charges in Georgia in recent years; there are two others, one of whom has already pled guilty.)

Current company executives and lawyers have denied all of Jannuzzo’s accusations, but if this case goes to trial, I suspect the Jannuzzo defense will try to hang out plenty of (alleged) dirty corporate laundry. Here is an article I wrote for Businessweek that offers something of a preview of the Jannuzzo case (for the full story, check my book and keep an eye on the headlines in February):

In a separate development, recent reports in the Austrian press describe a nascent split within the Glock family and questions about the manufacturer’s future ownership and direction. I will address those issues in a future dispatch.

PAUL M. BARRETT is an assistant managing editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the author of American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion and The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America. Barrett lives and works in New York City.

by Paul M. Barrett
Crown Publishers • On sale: January 10, 2012
Price: $26.00 hardcover • Pages: 304 • ISBN: 978-0-307-71993-5 or