Mayor Article

Federal Government May Sue Gun Industry

By Ed Somers

In an effort spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Clinton Administration has announced it is considering a lawsuit against the gun industry.

The class action lawsuit would be filed on behalf of the nation's 3,200 public housing authorities and their 3.25 million residents unless gun makers agree to change the way they design and sell weapons. According to the Administration, the 100 largest public housing authorities alone report a total of 10,000 gun crimes every year and are forced to spend $1 billion on security.

Twenty-nine individual cities and counties, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), have brought suit against the gun industry seeking monetary damages and a change in the manufacturing and distribution practices of the industry.

According to the Administration, the intent of its announcement is to help encourage the gun industry to settle these lawsuits and adopt new practices such as limits intended to reduce "straw purchases" and the inclusion of child safety locks on new guns. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said, "We don't want to go to court, but we do want a resolution." 

In commenting on the possible lawsuit, President Clinton stressed, "I've always tried to use the executive authority in areas where I thought it was important."

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