On April 13, 2023, Cohen Milstein and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a negligence, public nuisance and unlawful marketing lawsuit against American Tactical, Inc. and others involved in the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of the 60-round high-capacity magazine (HCM) used by the perpetrator in a deadly mass shooting on April 15, 2021 at a FedEx Ground Package facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tragically, thirteen people were shot during the attack. Eight died. At least five other people were injured.
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of the estate of Jaswinder Singh, and victims Harpreet Singh, and Lakhwinder Kaur, who were attacked on that fateful day.
Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit under New York common law and New York’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (“NYUTPA”) N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349-350.
“No honest man needs more than 10 rounds,” said famed firearms manufacturer and designer William B. Ruger, Sr., over 30 years ago.
Ruger also stated, “I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20- or 30-round magazines . . . .”
A magazine is the accessory used to store and feed ammunition in semi-automatic and automatic guns. The HCMs that Mr. Ruger found unnecessary for law-abiding civilians enable many rounds of ammunition to be fired from semi-automatic guns without reloading.
Plaintiffs in this case assert that 60-round HCMs are not necessary, or even useful, for lawful self-defense or hunting. They are, however, very useful for one thing – killing large numbers of people quickly, before the user has to stop to reload, such as in a military combat zone.
HCMs in the civilian context are, as a practical matter, useful only to engage in one thing—mass assaults on other civilians or law enforcement—that is, mass shootings.
Plaintiffs assert that in the case of the lethal mass shooting on April 15, 2021 at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, the lethality of the shooter’s attack would not have been possible without the 60-round HCM, and that the high capacity of the 60-round HCM emboldened the shooter to commit the attack, knowing he had the ability to fire 60 rounds continuously without the need to pause to reload.
Plaintiffs assert that Defendants deliberately marketed and sold 60-round HCMs that have approximately two to three times the killing capacity of standard magazines to the public, particularly young men. Plaintiffs further claim that the Defendants sold these HCMs without a single safeguard, screening, or limit. Indeed, these HCMs are also available for purchase on the internet.
Defendants breached their duty of care by significantly increasing the risk that one or more of their HCMs would be used in a mass shooting. Defendants did so through several reckless practices, including, but not limited to:
- Selling HCMs with a 60-round capacity;
- Allowing customers to acquire HCMs without providing any legitimate reason for needing an HCM for law-abiding activities;
- Allowing customers to acquire HCMs without engaging in a face-to-face transaction with a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL);
- Allowing customers to acquire HCMs without providing their criminal history or completing a mental health screening;
- Affirmatively marketing these highly lethal products (HCMs) in a manner that targets impulsive young men with militaristic delusions, and insecurity about their masculinity (i.e., the need to harm others in order to prove their strength).
Upon information and belief, Defendants continue to market and sell the 60-round HCM and will ship it straight to anyone who can access the internet and pay $49.95 plus tax and shipping.
Plaintiffs are entitled to damages for the harm foreseeably flowing from the Defendants’ reckless conduct in the manufacturing and/or importing, selling, distributing, and marketing of the HCM, as well as to injunctive relief to abate the ongoing nuisance created by Defendants’ continuing conduct with regards to similar HCMs.
Case name: Bains, et al. v. American Tactical, Inc., et al., Case No. 6:23-cv-06208, United States District Court for the Western District of New York