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By Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN
A woman who was shot in the Brooklyn subway shooting in April filed a lawsuit Tuesday against gunmaker Glock Inc. and its Austria-based parent firm, claiming the company is contributing to “creating and maintaining a public nuisance in the State of New York” and endangering the state’s public health and safety.
The lawsuit, filed by Ilene Steur and her attorneys, is an early test of a 2021 New York state law that enables victims of gun violence to sue firearms manufacturers or dealers for their injuries. The gun industry challenged the law as unconstitutional. Last week, a federal district judge upheld it.
Steur was one of 10 people shot when Frank James, 62, allegedly opened fire on a Brooklyn subway on the morning of April 12. Another 19 people suffered injuries related to the attack. James allegedly used a Glock 9 mm handgun to fire at least 33 rounds in a crowded train, officials said. James has pleaded not guilty to terrorism and gun charges.
Steur, 49, was on her way to work when she was shot, the lawsuit states. As a result, she suffered significant gunshot injuries, with a bullet entering through her buttocks, fracturing part of her spine just above her tailbone and ripping through rectum, her attorney Sanford Rubenstein told CNN.
“She has a colostomy bag and sustained permanent physical and psychological damage,” Rubenstein said.
The lawsuit was filed as the US tallied 231 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one where at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
It also comes a week after an 18-year-old used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle to kill 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Lawsuit takes aim at gun manufacturer’s marketing
In the lawsuit, Steur’s attorneys argue Glock’s marketing campaign emphasizes the high capacity and ease of concealing its firearms — an “appeal to prospective purchasers with criminal intent.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges Glock strategically advertises its products through placement in movies and rap music.
The lawsuit also alleges that the makers of Glock firearms are aware mass shootings have become “a frightening yet predictable part of modern life,” and knowing this, Glock sells its firearms to the civilian market knowing they might end up in the hands of “individuals unfit to operate.”
CNN reached out to Glock Inc. and the National Rifle Association for comment but has not heard back.
According to the suit, Steur’s attorneys are asking the gun manufacturer to “institute and carry out policies, practices, and programs which eradicate the effects of its past and present unlawful marketing and distribution practices” as well as asking for financial compensation for “the physical pain and suffering, permanent physical injuries, emotional pain, suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, and isolation” resulting from the gunmaker’s “unlawful marketing and distribution practices.”
“The lawsuit … is an effort to hold accountable to a victim a gun manufacturer whose marketing strategies we allege, results in guns being put in the hands of those who kill and maim innocent victims,” Rubenstein, Steur’s attorney, said in a statement Tuesday. “Those who manufacture and distribute guns have a moral responsibility to work with government to end the epidemic of gun violence and mass killings in our county.”
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