A commuter who was wounded in the April mass shooting at a New York City subway station has filed a lawsuit against Glock Inc., asserting that the gun manufacturer contributed to her physical and emotional damage from the attack.
On Tuesday, Brooklyn resident Ilene Steur, 49, filed the complaint against Glock, citing a 2021 law that allows New York state residents affected by gun violence to sue gun-makers over potential harm caused.
According to Axios, the viability of that law was upheld last week by a federal judge after being constitutionally challenged by gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
The law, originally signed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reads that ”no gun industry member … shall knowingly or recklessly create, maintain or contribute to a condition in New York state that endangers the safety or health of the public through the sale, manufacturing, importing or marketing of a qualified product.”
In the shooting, suspect Frank R. James, 62, reportedly injured at least 30 people with a Glock pistol he had legally purchased from an Ohio gun shop.
James pleaded not guilty to terrorism and weapons charges in May. If convicted, he could face a maximum punishment of life in prison.
On the morning commute that April day, James set off smoke grenades in a crowded subway car and then fired at least 33 shots with a handgun, according to police.
Also, citing Newsmax reports from then, New York City police recovered a Glock 17 9 mm handgun, three more ammunition magazines and a hatchet, along with a credit card bearing James’ name and keys to a van he had rented.
In her lawsuit against Glock and its Austrian parent company, Glock Ges.m.b.H, Steur seeks compensation for her injuries.
Her primary argument: The company’s marketing and distribution strategies allowed the suspect (James) to acquire a dangerous product and then use it in a criminal manner.
In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Steur’s lawyers assert that ”the defendants’ marketing and distribution practices made it far more likely that criminals, including Frank James, would obtain their weapons.”
The lawsuit language continues: ”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.”
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, wants to tighten the state’s already restrictive gun laws.
As a potential first step, she’s calling for legislators to raise the minimum age to buy AR-15-style weapons from 18 to 21, according to the Times.