NYC Files Lawsuit against Gun Industry

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - New York City will sue the nation's gun makers in federal court on Tuesday, joining thirty other cities and counties that have also turned to the courts in an effort to make gun makers pay for the misuse of firearms.

New York City's lawsuit accuses the gun industry of creating a public nuisance by allowing guns to be sold illegally on the streets, where they fall into the wrong hands.

"We're also saying that they [the gunmakers] have failed or refuse to design safer guns and that they have created a wall of deniability by avoiding monitoring the downstream path of their product," said Lorna Goodman, a senior attorney for the city's Corporation Counsel.

New York's lawsuit seeks an injunction against the gun makers to "abate the nuisance they have created."

New York, like the other jurisdictions, is seeking compensatory damages to reimburse the city for the cost of fighting crimes committed with firearms and treating gun-related industries.

After seeing crime drop to its lowest level in decades, New York has been the scene of several high-profile attacks in recent weeks, including the murders-by-gun of five people during a robbery at a Wendy's restaurant in Queens and the "wilding" episode in Central Park, where groups of men (armed with squirt guns) sexually assaulted a number of women in broad daylight.

Many in the gun industry say lawsuits of the type filed by New York are politically motivated.

It's clear the New York City Council is not friendly toward the gun industry. When the National Rifle Association announced plans to open a theme store and restaurant in Times Square, the city council said don't bother.

Earlier this month, the city council passed a resolution saying, "The promotion of guns has no place in such an entertainment venture and especially not in Times Square, where the city has worked hard to rid the area of guns and gun-related violence."

The NRA said the resolution would not interfere with its plans to offer food and entertainment in a food-and-entertainment mecca.

In May, the gun industry broke off settlement talks with the various cities and counties that have filed suit against it. Press reports said the gun makers apparently are hoping that the prevailing anti-gun climate will change in November, if George W. Bush is elected president.

New York Corporation Counsel Michael Hess discussed the lawsuit the city plans to file against the gun industry on Monday.

"Manufacturers sell guns and have guns distributed in states with very weak gun laws, knowing that these guns will be transported from weak gun law states to strong gun law states," he said.

Hess said the city's lawsuit also accuses the gun makers of deceptive advertising, for making the claim that homes with guns are safer than homes without them.

See Earlier Stories:
Author Says Handgun Control No Guarantee for Reducing Crime (07 June 2000)
Gun Manufacturers Sue Government for Violating Free Trade (27 April 2000)