Gun Policy in New Mexico Pawn Shop Backfires


     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – A woman who worked at a pawn shop that encouraged employees to carry guns was shot in the butt by a coworker while checking inventory, she claims in court.
     Azalea Black sued Valley Pawn LLC, its managing member Justin Bernstein, and the employee who allegedly shot her, George Rubi, on Friday in Bernalillo County Court.
     Black claims that both she and Rubi smoked marijuana openly at work, while carrying guns. Black had a medical marijuana card from California, and she “openly medicated at work with knowledge and tacit permission of management,” she says in the complaint.
     “Rubi also openly smoked marijuana with knowledge and tacit permission of management on premises and often openly carried a firearm at work,” Black says.
     She says the pawnshop did more than $1 million in business each year buying and selling guns, and encouraged employees to carry loaded guns at work, to promote a “gun culture.”
     Black says she took a fancy to “a black and gold loaded .38 revolver that was pawned and was being held during the federal waiting period.” She says Valley Pawn agreed to let her buy it when the waiting time had expired.
     The gun still belonged to Valley Pawn, but she carried it openly at work, “in her back pocket with the grip exposed,” Black says.
     On Sept. 17, 2011, Black says, as she stood on a ladder inventorying guns in a storage area, Rubi “pulled the .38 revolver from her rear pocket, pointed it at her buttocks and then with reckless disregard for her safety, pulled the trigger, shooting plaintiff with a single round from the revolver. Plaintiff collapsed on the ladder.”
     It was no mistake, Black says: “The .38 revolver requires approximately 10 pounds of pressure to cock and fire.”
     She says Rubi dropped the gun and ran out of the room. Other co-workers helped her down from the ladder and called an ambulance.
     Black She seeks damages for medical expenses, negligence, respondeat superior, negligent training and supervision, premises liability, pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life.
     She is represented by Robert Avila.

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