It was the same old story: a demonstration of the Glock’s potency, even in the hands of a mass murderer, immediately sent firearm buffs out to buy another one. Gun-control advocates called for new restrictions, confirming fears of a crackdown. But then President Obama did not get behind the idea, and it swiftly disappeared in the swirl of Capitol Hill debate about the budget, taxes, and deficit reduction. The ability of Glock, and its industry, to turn even a nebulous threat of new legislative limits to their advantage remains undiminished.
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Gaston Glock’s health faltered in his early eighties, raising questions about his oft-stated intention to live to 120. The future leadership of the company appears uncertain as a result. The founder has not lost his lust for life, however. He and Helga have divorced, and shortly after his eighty-second birthday in July 2011, Herr Glock remarried. His new wife is Katherine Tschikof, the thirty-one-year-old director of the Glock Horse Performance Center, an equestrian academy the gun maker sponsors.
Brigitte Glock , Gaston’s daughter, now shares the title of chief executive officer of Glock GmbH with Reinhold Hirschheiter, the company’s longtime technical supervisor. Presumably the long-suffering Brigitte no longer feels as if she serves as her father’s personal slave. Her ascension to co-CEO sparked rumors that perhaps the Glock family would sell the company, so the founder’s three middle-aged children could inherit their millions and walk away from the burdens of overseeing an international corporation. But by mid-2011 there was no sign of a takeover, and the gossip faded. “Most people assume that as long as Gaston is alive, no one is going to buy that company,” said Cameron Hopkins, the NRA blogger and longtime marketing consultant.
Jörg Haider , the right-wing politician whom Glock supported financially but denied being friends with, died in a car crash not far from the Glock estate in 2008.
Few of the Americans who as company employees helped make Glock what it is today have shared in its success or wealth:
Karl Walter , the standout salesman, after his falling-out with Gaston Glock never regained the stature he had enjoyed in the industry. He has worked for other gun companies and now serves as a broker, helping arrange deals among manufacturers looking to dispose of or acquire assets. Badly injured years ago in a car accident that almost killed him, a stooped Walter appears fleetingly at trade shows. He looks older than his years and not at all like the free-spending host of hedonistic assemblies at the Gold Club. The FBI, as it happens, shut down Atlanta’s infamous adult entertainment establishment after busting its operators for racketeering.
Sharon Dillon , the blond stripper who for a time Walter transformed into the face of Glock, has exchanged her fame for anonymity; she could not be located.
Sherry Collins , the feisty advertising and public relations executive who made her name at Smith & Wesson and then jumped to its more successful Austrian challenger, enjoyed being with a winner but never felt entirely comfortable in Smyrna. She was eventually fired after clashes with Peter Manown, the Glock lawyer who was ousted himself after admitting that he had embezzled from the company. “The whole time I was at Glock I always had a feeling there were wheels within wheels,” Collins told me. “They had a very strict but unspoken ‘don’t need to know’ policy. Mostly the people who worked there didn’t need to know what was going on in Austria.”
Richard Feldman , the durable industry operative who advised Glock for many years, now runs a bed-and-breakfast in New Hampshire with his wife, Jackie, a college administrator. From his rural base, Feldman is trying to organize a politically moderate gun owners’ association as an alternative to the NRA. So far, he has not had much luck with the project.
Paul Jannuzzo , Feldman’s pal and once Glock’s top executive in the United States, remains in limbo as of this writing—behind bars. Not long after Business Week published its look at the behind-the-scenes intrigue at Glock in September 2009, Jannuzzo failed to appear for a routine hearing in his prosecution in Cobb County, Georgia, for defrauding the gun manufacturer. Several months later, he was arrested in the Netherlands at the request of the FBI. He had gone to Holland to be with his wife, Monika, the former Glock human relations manager. Jannuzzo fought extradition to the United States for more than a year, but in the spring of 2011, he was finally shipped back to Georgia to face trial. His contention that he had been unfairly accused of impropriety by a resentful former employer was now undermined by his having left the country while under indictment. Also undercut by his conduct were Jannuzzo’s claims to the IRS about Glock having evaded US taxes by playing invoicing games involving various shell companies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The revenue agency could hardly go after Glock for complicated alleged infractions when the putative main witness allegedly had run away from justice himself.
Jannuzzo’s tax allegations seemed plausible, if uncorroborated. He had access to the sort of information that would have allowed him to understand Glock’s internal financial convolutions. Indeed, he might have been able to negotiate leniency in a plea bargain if he had admitted to personal wrongdoing, provided detailed and accurate information to the government, and declared himself a chastened man. Instead he made the strange and self-incriminating choice of departing for Europe. His trial in Cobb County was expected to commence in late 2011.
The biggest potential danger Glock faced in the United States—a sophisticated former insider who said he knew damaging secrets—was effectively eliminated. The company claimed vindication, crowed about its healthy sales, and continued to ship its black plastic pistols.
Many people who have worked for Glock and elsewhere in the gun industry provided information for this book. Some were willing to be named, others not. I thank them all.
Stuart Krichevsky did his usual exemplary job fine-tuning ideas and finding an excellent publisher. At Crown, Roger Scholl, an outstanding editor, saw what I was trying to accomplish and helped me do it. Rick Willett did careful copyediting. Julie Cohen and Laurence Barrett improved early drafts.
Parts of this book began as articles in what is now Bloomberg Businessweek . My former colleagues Brian Grow and Jack Ewing collaborated on a cover story in 2009 that got the process started. Steve Adler and Ellen Pollock oversaw early reporting and gave moral support. At Bloomberg, Norman Pearlstine and Josh Tyrangiel indulged my fascination with the gun industry and in 2011 published another cover story on Glock. Talented comrades and benevolent bosses make all the difference to a journalist.
I would get nothing worthwhile done without my wife, the lovely and brilliant filmmaker Julie Cohen. I owe her everything. Beau, our dachshund, sleeps on my lap when I write.
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