The lawsuit seeks to take advantage of a recently passed New York state law that allows the victims of gun violence to sue firearm manufacturers under certain, limited circumstances.
A woman injured in an April mass shooting has filed a lawsuit against Glock, the manufacturer of the weapon used in last month’s Brooklyn subway attack.
According to National Public Radio, the lawsuit was filed by Ilene Steur in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The complaint names as defendants Glock Inc. and its Austria-based parent company, Glock Ges.m.b.H.
Steur, says N.P.R., was taking the subway home from work when suspected shooter Frank James deployed two smoke grenades inside the train car and began firing upon passengers.
Ten people were injured in the attack, including Steur, who suffered “serious and permanent personal injuries.”
Steur’s lawsuit says that she is no longer able to perform “normal activities.”
“I always see on the news about people — innocent people — getting 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 to National Public Radio.
“There has got to be better control of who gets their hands on these guns,” Steur added.
N.P.R. notes that Glock began selling its weapons in the United States in the 1980s. At the time, its handguns were primarily marketed to police departments.
However, the complaint claims that Glock’s marketing emphasized “firearm characteristics such as their high capacity and ease of concealment, that appeal to prospective purchases with a criminal intent.” It also asserts that Glock made an “intentional effort for their pistols to be used in movies and rap songs.”
Steur’s lawsuit alleges that the company intentionally produced and sold far more firearms than “legitimate” buyers needed, creating a secondary, less-regulated marketed in pawn shops and private trade shows.
James, observes the lawsuit, bought the Glock used in the shooting in a Columbus, Ohio, pawn shop in 2011.
“Defendants are aware that by over-saturating the market with guns, the guns will go to the secondary markets that serve purchasers with a criminal intent, such as James,” the lawsuit alleges.
While firearm manufacturers are normally shielded from lawsuits filed by gun violence victims, New York recently passed a state-level law that would allow some companies to be held liable if they create a “public nuisance” by endangering the health, safety, and well-being of residents.
Steur’s attorneys say the recent legislation could provide a work-around to the immunity firearm-makers have long enjoyed.
“The New York state law is a law which we believe creates a cut-out so that the immunity which is given to the gun industry would not apply in cases in which the gun manufacturers create a public nuisance as a result of their marketing efforts,” Steur lawyer Sanford Rubenstein told National Public Radio.