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Families affected by Indianapolis FedEx shooting sue magazine distributor

School shooting returns focus to assault weapons
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Two years after a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indiana, survivors and victims' family members are suing the company that distributed the magazine used in the killings. 

New York-based American Tactical sells high-capacity ammunition magazines (HCMs) that allow shooters to fire off 60 rounds of ammunition without reloading. That feature is "not necessary, or even useful, for lawful self-defense or hunting," a federal lawsuit filed Thursday argues. Court documents also allege that American Tactical is aware of how many times high-capacity magazines have been used in recent killings and that its decision to continue selling them is "reckless."

A magazine is what is used to store and feed ammunition into semiautomatic and automatic guns. Rounds, or cartridges, are units of ammunition, consisting of a bullet or projectile that is fired from a gun, explains the lawsuit.

Nine people — including Jaswinder Singh — died in the April 2021 shooting when former FedEx employee Brandon Hole opened fire on people in a Fedex shipping facility in Indianapolis. Singh's son Gurinder Singh Bains told CBS affiliate WTTV on Thursday that American Tactical sells "instruments of mass killing and have no problem marketing them directly to people with horrific intentions."

The lawsuit notes 11 mass shootings that occurred between 2012 and 2019 — including at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the Mandalay Bay incident in Las Vegas and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida — in which a gunman used high-capacity magazines. 

"This isn't a hypothetical," Bains told WTTV. "My father is gone because they didn't care they were enabling mass shooters. They have to be held accountable not just for my father's sake but everyone who may still suffer what my family and I have been forced to go through."

American Tactical didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. 

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Guns sold without face-to-face contact or other checks

Survivors of the shooting and victims' families are suing the company for negligence, wrongful death and public nuisance. The lawsuit accuses American Tactical of selling the magazines to customers without requiring face-to-face interactions or providing a criminal history and mental health screening.  

At its heart, the lawsuit against supplier American Tactical, along with magazine manufacturer Schmeisser GmbH, centers on how gun manufacturers and distributors market and sell their "highly lethal" products. 

Gunmakers in the U.S. are facing intense scrutiny over how they market weapons to young consumers. Weapons like the AR-style guns used in mass shootings are often marketed on social media through posts tailored to appeal to young adults and teens, gun control advocates and experts say. 

Gunmakers generally don't advertise on television because companies such as Comcast have restrictions against airing their ads and those of ammunition makers. 

Gunmaker accused of targeting "at-risk young men" 02:34

The lawsuit claims the defendants "published video advertisements on social media platforms of their HMCs featuring extreme violence and reckless spraying of bullets," using a "video game and action movie aesthetic."

The marketing videos were produced by firearms media production company Polenar Tactical, according to the suit. 

American Tactical tends to "target their advertising and marketing to ... emotionally troubled young men," the lawsuit states. It alleges the company does so "even though, as participants in a highly profitable, but uniquely dangerous market, they can reasonably be expected to be fully aware of these facts."

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