One of the victims of the mass shooting attack in a New York City subway is suing Glock, the manufacturer of the gun used in the attack. The woman is claiming that her injuries were due to Glock’s marketing strategies.
The victim is Ilene Steur, and she is one of the ten people allegedly shot by Frank James when he opened fire on a subway train in Brooklyn on April 12. According to the prosecutors, James used a Glock 17 pistol—which he had legally purchased at an Ohio pawn shop back in 2011—during his shooting rampage.
Attorneys for Steur filed the lawsuit this week, and they contend that Glock, Inc. is directly responsible for the attack and the subsequent injuries. The lawsuit alleges that the gun manufacturer’s business practices and activities constitute a “public nuisance” to the state of New York. The lawsuit is leveraging a New York state law that was passed just last year, and which allows people to take legal action against firearms manufacturers using the “public nuisance” argument, according to reporting by Fox Business.
The law was challenged by gun manufacturers, as well as supporters of the Second Amendment, over its vagueness and unconstitutionality, but it was upheld last week by a federal court.
Steur’s lawyers have taken advantage of the new law to argue that Glock’s marketing is responsible for the mass shooting and is a threat to public safety. Fox Business reports that their filing maintains that Glock’s advertising tactics place an emphasis on their guns’ “high capacity and ease of concealment, that appeal to prospective purchasers with criminal intent, including but not limited to through advertisement, product placement in movies and rap music.”
Glock has long been a standard-issue sidearm for law enforcement agencies in the U.S. as well as many other countries. In light of this, the lawsuit places blame on the company for aggressively marketing its weapons to police departments for the last forty years, as well as to civilians. The suit claims that Glocks are “unsuited to personal defense or recreation,” and that a Glock handgun “enables an individual in possession of the weapon to inflict unparalleled civilian carnage.”
It also alleges that Glock manufactures and sells “more firearms than legal purchasers can buy,” with the intent of creating and supporting a lucrative secondary market that criminals and others with malicious intent can use to obtain the weapons. However, in the case of the New York subway shooting suspect, the gun was legally purchased rather than obtained on the black market.
Sanford Rubenstein, one of Steur’s attorneys, maintains that Glock’s business practices have created havoc in New York, whether the firearms are legally purchased or not.
“It’s our position that [Glock’s] marketing tactics or distribution strategies have created this appetite for purchasers whether they purchased the gun legally or not,” he told Fox Business. “That created a public nuisance.”
“At the end of the day, what we really need is Congress and the president to enact new legislation to stop the immunity gun companies have from damages to victims,” he added. “That’s what really needs to be done here. But I think an overhaul of the immunity statute that exists in Congress is not something that’s going to happen in the near future, unfortunately.”
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