Jun 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

NYC subway shooting survivor sues gunmaker Glock

New York City police at the 36 St. subway station on April 12.

New York City police at the 36 St. subway station on April 12. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

A survivor of the April 12 mass shooting in a Brooklyn subway station filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock on Tuesday, seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she received from the attack.

Why it matters: Brooklyn resident Ilene Steur, 49, filed the complaint against the company under a 2021 law that allows the state and people affected by gun violence to sue gunmakers over potential harm caused by the products they produce.

The big picture: Police said the suspected gunman of the shooting, Frank James, injured at least 23 people with a pistol produced by Glock that he purchased from a pawn shop in Ohio in 2011.

  • As a train he was on was pulling into a Brooklyn subway station, police said he put on a gas mask and let off a smoke canister before opening fire on passengers and people on the platform. 10 of those injured received gunshot wounds.
  • James pleaded not guilty to terrorism and weapons charges in May. If he is convicted, he could face a maximum punishment of life in prison.

What they're saying: Steur, in her suit against Glock and its Austrian parent company, Glock Ges.m.b.H, is seeking compensation for her injuries, arguing that their marketing practices and distribution strategy allowed the suspect to acquire one of the company's products and use it in a criminal act.

  • Lawyers representing Steur said in the complaint filed to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York that "the defendants’ marketing and distribution practices made it far more likely that criminals, including Frank James, would obtain their weapons."
  • "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 reads.

Zoom out: A mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left at least 19 children and two adults dead last week and another mass shooting that killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on May 14 have intensified the debate on U.S. gun control legislation and renewed scrutiny on gun rights organizations and gun manufacturers.

  • The 2021 New York law that allowed Steur to file the lawsuit was upheld by a federal judge as constitutional last week after being challenged by gunmakers, distributors and retailers.

Go deeper: Grand jury indicts Buffalo shooting suspect on terrorism charge

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