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Gunmaker Glock facing lawsuit over Brooklyn subway shooting

A Glock 17 pistol smokes after being fired at Altcar Training Camp, Hightown, United Kingdom on May 24, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Gregory D. Boyd)
May 31, 2022

Glock, the Austrian company behind several popular handgun models, is facing a lawsuit in New York from one of the victims of an April shooting on a subway line in Brooklyn that left 16 injured.

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported Ilene Steur is bringing a lawsuit before a New York federal court alleging Glock markets and distributes its handguns in a way that ought to be considered a “public nuisance” under New York laws.

Steur’s lawsuit alleges Glock’s marketing wrongly encourages civilians to purchase their handguns.

“Glock and its distributors encourage police departments to make trade-ins earlier than necessary or originally planned so that they can sell more firearms to the police and sell the former police guns at a markup on the civilian market,” Steur’s lawsuit states.

“Glock knows that by oversaturating the market with guns, the guns will go to the secondary markets that serve illegal purchasers,” the lawsuit adds.

Steur, 49, was among multiple people injured when a suspect set off a smoke bomb and opened fire inside a subway car in April. Steur said she was on the subway car where the attack took place and began running when smoke filled the car, but was shot in the buttocks.

“I ran away from it and heard the pops and I felt an electric shock go through my whole body,” she told the New York Daily News.

Steur’s injuries have had a life-changing effect. The bullet that struck her ruptured her rectum and fractured her sacrum bone at the base of her spine. She now has to wear a colostomy bag as she awaits her second major surgery to repair her colon. She also suffers nerve damage that makes it difficult to walk, stand or sit for extended periods of time.

Frank James, the accused shooter, has since been indicted on federal terrorism charges.

Mark Shirian, one of Steur’s lawyers, told the New York Daily News that Glock’s marketing also emphasizes their guns can be easily concealed and carry a “high capacity” of ammunition. Shirian believes those features specifically appeal to people who intend to commit crimes.

Steur’s federal lawsuit relies on a New York state law, that allows victims of gun violence to sue gunmakers for creating a public nuisance through their marketing and sales practices.

The lawsuit also comes after the gunmaker Remington settled a lawsuit brought by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut for $73 million.

Glock was one of several gunmakers that sued in federal court to overturn the state law, but Judge Mae D’Agostino dismissed their case. The group of gunmakers, who argue New York’s law circumvents existing federal protections against lawsuits, plan to appeal the case.