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Ilene Steur, who was injured in the New York City subway shooting in April, is suing gun maker Glock over its marketing practices and distribution strategy that she says allowed the suspect to acquire the one of the company’s products.
The lawsuit comes shortly after two other recent mass shootings – one at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, and another at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas – which have renewed calls for more gun control measures. stringent in the United States.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Steur’s lawsuit names Georgia-based Glock Inc. and its Austrian parent company, Glock Ges.mbH, as defendants.
The 49-year-old Brooklyn resident was riding the subway to work on April 12 when suspected gunman Frank James allegedly deployed two smoke grenades inside the train car and began firing.
Ten people were shot in the attack, including Steur, who suffered “severe and permanent injuries” that prevented her from performing normal activities, according to the lawsuit.
“I always see on the news people – innocent people – being shot, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I never thought I would be one of those victims,” Steur said in a statement. statement that his attorneys provided to NPR. .
“There needs to be better control over who gets their hands on these guns,” she added.
James was arrested a day after the shooting and charged in federal court.
Lawsuit targets Glock’s marketing practices
In the late 1980s, Glock began selling its guns in the United States and marketing them to police departments, according to the lawsuit. The company’s lightweight, high-capacity semi-automatic pistol offered an alternative to the six-shot revolvers that were used by many law enforcement agencies at the time.
But the lawsuit claims Glock intentionally produced and sold more guns than legitimate buyers needed, creating a secondary market where its firearms were resold at places such as pawnshops.
James purchased the Glock pistol he used in the attack from a pawnshop in Columbus, Ohio in 2011, Fox News reported.
“The defendants are aware that by saturating the market with guns, the guns will go to secondary markets that serve buyers with criminal intent, like James,” the lawsuit states.
When advertising its guns, Glock touts features such as their high capabilities and ease of concealment, which the lawsuit says appeal to potential buyers with criminal intent. Glocks’ appearance in movies and TV shows as well as rap lyrics also helped boost sales, the lawsuit suggests.
In the meantime, Glock has not done enough to prevent the sale of its weapons on the secondary market, for example by ending contracts with distributors who “sold to dealers disproportionate volumes of weapons linked to scenes of crime” or by training dealers to avoid illegal transactions, the lawsuit alleges.
Glock did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.
How Lawyers Plan to Bypass the Gun Industry’s Broad Immunity
The lawsuit specifically cites a New York law signed last year by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo that allows gun companies to be held liable for creating ‘public nuisance’ if they endanger the health and safety of residents.
Lawyers representing Steur suggest the law provides an end to the broad immunity that gun manufacturers and dealers enjoy from liability for crimes committed using their products.
“The New York State law is a law that we believe creates a restriction so that the immunity granted to the firearms industry does not apply in cases where firearms manufacturers fire create a public nuisance as a result of their marketing efforts,” attorney Sanford Rubenstein told NPR.
The attorneys said they could file claims under the law in state or federal court.