Families of Dayton shooting victims file suit against manufacturer of large-capacity magazines

A group comprising survivors and victims’ families in the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the large-capacity magazine (LCM) used in the shooting, according to court documents.

The lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court in Nevada is asking for damages as well as an injunction for the defendant Kyung Chang Industry (KCI USA) to stop selling their 100-round LCM.

Calls and e-mails to KCI have not been returned.

“To our knowledge, this is the first lawsuit that’s focused solely on the marketing and manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines,” Jonathan Lowy, an attorney representing the families, said Monday.

Lowy, the chief counsel and vice president of legal at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, acknowledged there have been numerous lawsuits against the makers and sellers of guns, and manufacturers of body armor, ammunition and LCM’s have been included in broader lawsuits. But, he said, “we’re not aware of any that have been focused solely on the magazine.”

Lowy said the lawsuit is not about stopping all magazines under a certain capacity, but about the manufacturer’s “decision to make 100-round magazines, to market them to the general public, to do so without any reasonable restrictions or conditions, to allow and even to encourage in some ways that people use internet sellers to obtain those 100-round magazines, to not screen for who would be an appropriate user of 100-round magazine.”

The lawsuit stems from the August 4, 2019, mass shooting at a popular nightlife area in Dayton in which nine people were fatally shot and 31 others were injured. The gunman used a high-powered rifle and a large-capacity magazine to fire a total of 41 rounds in about 30 seconds before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

“It is fundamentally problematic,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said at the time. “To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, is problematic.”

Large-capacity magazines enable shooters to fire repeatedly without having to pause to reload. They have been a recurring feature in the country’s deadliest shootings, from Columbine High School in 1999 to Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

In 1994, Congress passed a law banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, but the law expired in 2004. As of 2019, nine states banned such large-capacity magazines, but Ohio was not one of them.

The lawsuit alleges that the “Defendants’ LCM enabled the Shooter to transform the popular commercial district into a war zone, in seconds.”

It goes on to say that ,”as a result of the massive capacity of the Magazine and the corresponding lack of a need to pause and reload, the Shooter was able to discharge 41 rounds in approximately 32 seconds, before being killed by responding police officers.”

Dion Green survived the shooting in Dayton, but his father Derrick Fudge did not. Fudge was shot five times and died in his son’s arms, Green said.

“Since my dad died in my arms that night, I’ve been advocating across the country fighting against all types of laws, helping victims of crime,” Green said. “I’m not going to be quiet; I’m going to stand tall with a voice, and I want to just keep being in their ear, and demanding change.”

He said the families of the victims didn’t get justice because the gunman “took the easy way out” that day.

“We need to hold this company accountable,” he said.

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