On Tuesday, attorney Matt Gonzalez suggested blame for Kathy Steinle’s death rests with a SIG Sauer handgun rather than serial deportee and felon Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez.
Sanchez is accused of shooting and killing Steinle with a stolen SIG Sauer handgun on San Francisco’s Pier 14 on July 1, 2015. Days after Steinle’s death, Breitbart News reported that Sanchez was a “five-time deportee” and a “seven-time convicted felon.”
The gun with which he allegedly shot Steinle had been stolen from the car of a Bureau of Land Management agent. Now Sanchez’s attorney says the gun is to blame.
Writing in the Featured Opinion column of the San Francisco Examiner, Gonzalez claims that SIG Sauer handguns are prone to accidental discharges due to the light trigger pull when the gun is in single-action mode. While this trigger pull does allow for greater first shot accuracy, Gonzalez overlooks the fact that the only ways to get the gun into single-action mode are to: A. Rack the slide to load a round into the chamber or B. Use one’s thumb to cock the hammer on the back of the gun, manually placing it in single-action. Otherwise, the gun is in double-action and the trigger pull is more than twice that of single-action.
(For those who may not know single-action from double-action, a single-action handgun with a hammer is one in which one action—pulling the trigger—releases the hammer from a held position, striking the firing pin and firing a bullet. All of that happens in a single action. In a double action, pulling the trigger does two things: 1. It draws the hammer back to the held position, then 2. Releases it so that it strikes the firing pin and fires a bullet. Obviously, the single-action trigger pull would be shorter and lighter, but one has to manually cock the hammer back or rack the slide in order to reach single-action mode.)
Nevertheless, Gonzalez tries to bolster his claims that SIG Sauer handguns are prone to accidental discharges by pointing to eight accidental discharges among law enforcement nationally over a 15-year period. But even the figure of eight accidental discharges over a 15-year period can be misleading, because some of Gonzalez’s example include “a sheriff’s deputy in Michigan accidentally discharged his SIG Sauer,” “a New York transit officer accidentally discharged his SIG Sauer while holstering it,” and “a federal air marshal in New Jersey unintentionally shot himself while handling his SIG Sauer service weapon.” These are not example of a gun just going off; of a gun just firing a round on its own.
Again—a SIG Sauer has to be manually placed in single-action mode and even then, it has a de-cocking lever allowing the person using to release the hammer without firing a round. Releasing the hammer in this fashion returns the gun to double-action, which has the heavier trigger pull.
Gonzalez complained about the de-cocking lever, too, claiming it is not clearly marked. He did not say whether it ought to be marked in English only, or whether a bilingual marking would be necessary to make things clear in the event that a “five-time deportee” was holding the gun.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.