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Baltimore spending $1.4M to replace police department guns that could accidentally misfire or fail

Baltimore County is spending more than $1.4 million to replace pistols used by county police that may have a tendency to accidentally misfire — or not fire at all.

The county awarded a no-bid contract to replace more than 2,000 FNS-40 pistols used by its police officers, sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers with weapons made by Glock.

The move came after mounting concerns about the pistols’ safety.

“The department understands that officers lost confidence in carrying this service weapon, so there was an immediate need to explore a new service weapon that our officers will have confidence carrying,” said Cpl. Shawn Vinson, a spokesman for the police department.

Baltimore County’s firing range instructors learned in August from the Arizona Department of Public Safety that the FNS-40 could fire accidentally.

Baltimore County initially worked with the gun’s manufacturer, FN America, a subsidiary of the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale Herstal, to replace a faulty striker pin in the guns in September.

But county officers had another problem with some of the FNS-40 pistols: a roll pin inside the trigger could fall out, causing the trigger to separate from the gun and rendering it unable to fire. The department has logged at least three guns with this problem in the past two years.

Meanwhile, an officer was injured in September when the officer’s gun accidentally fired during a classroom training session. Two years ago, an officer accidentally shot himself during training, when he pulled a gun from his holster and was preparing to shoot at a target. He suffered minor injuries.