A Warning for Guns Used by County Police

A Warning for Guns Used by County Police

BALTIMORE COUNTY (WBFF) - A police agency thousands of miles from Maryland sends a warning to the Baltimore County Police Department: A video reveals a potential problem with the handguns used by county officers that may result in the guns misfiring.

Baltimore County taxpayers spent about $1 million for new guns to be carried by Baltimore County police officers. The FNS40 Longslide has been at the side of county officers for about four years.

Over that time, FOX45 has tracked safety concerns about the FNS40. Officers and commanders questioned the testing of the gun, its selection over other weapons, and the risk of the gun firing without anyone pulling the trigger.

Last month, the potential for misfire arose again, this time around the gun’s striker, an internal component of the gun.

Baltimore County found out about the safety issue after the Arizona Department of Public Safety sent a video to BCPD identifying the problem.

As the department began replacing the striker in about 1900 guns, an accidental discharge happened at a police training facility.

An officer was taking apart his gun when it discharged, wounding the officer. Baltimore County continues to investigate the discharge.

In November, an officer at the Towson precinct was loading her gear into a patrol car when her gun fired inside its holster. As a result of the discharge, BCPD spent $187,662.20 to buy new holsters for the FNS40.

In a 2014 interview, former police chief, Jim Johnson, defended the purchase of the FNS40.

“Look, I carry the weapon, my son carries the weapon. These officers I love and their families carry the weapons. I don’t want anything out there that’s inferior. I won’t stand for it. I don’t care what the cost. If I made a mistake, which I certainly don’t believe we did, I would admit it," Johnson said.

FOX45 offered to give county police an on-camera interview to respond to the latest issues surrounding the FNS40, but it declined.

FN Herstal, the maker of the FNS40, would not comment on the “unintentional discharges,” but did say in an email: “The FNS-40 meets all safety and reliability requirements set forth by Baltimore County Police Department, and to our knowledge, has performed exceptionally in the line of duty.”

BCPD says no misfires have occurred as a result of the striker issue raised by Arizona DPS.

As the strikers are being replaced, BCPD and FN Herstl are looking to come up with a long term fix to the strikers.

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