Wednesday, December 08, 1999

U.S. to enter firearm lawsuits


Could give boost to cities' actions

BY CHARLES BABINGTON
The Washington Post

        WASHINGTON — The Clinton administration plans for the first time to intervene in litigation against the gun industry, a move to pressure manufacturers to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to reduce accidental shootings, officials said Tuesday.

        The decision could dramatically strengthen the hand of numerous cities — including Cincinnati — that have sued or threatened to sue firearms manufacturers, seeking redress for the public costs of gun violence.

        Federal officials will begin pressing the manufacturers to settle those lawsuits by making a variety of concessions, such as preventing “straw purchasers” from buying large quantities of firearms — a popular method for felons to obtain new guns.

        If the gun makers don't agree, the administration says it is ready with a powerful weapon similar to one it is using against the tobacco industry: a massive lawsuit on behalf of the nation's 3,191 public housing authorities and their 3.25 million residents.

        “If we cannot come up with a satisfactory resolution” through negotiations, “HUD would bring a class action suit on behalf of public housing authorities,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.

        Stanley Chesley, the attorney handling Cincinnati's lawsuit against gun manufacturers, said Tuesday night that the administration's intervention “is a step in the right direction. I think it makes a considerable difference, especially in the strength of the lawsuits.”

        On Oct. 7, Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman threw out the city's case. Mr. Chesley is appealing the ruling.

        William A. Weathers of the Enquirer contributed to this report.

        Latest updates from Associated Press



Judge ducks blame for fatal furlough
Volunteers help keep restoration work at Union Terminal on track
Unsure future awaits Shirey
Who gets the lead in Marge, the movie?
Air museum shows Nazi rarity
Big-rig demand drives up pay, perks
Health Alliance takes all day to answer call
Legislators vote today on abortion restriction
Trial opens for Carlie's accused killer
- U.S. to enter firearm lawsuits
Budget cut counterproposal made
Drop school change plans, teachers union asks
Teens charged in bomb threat
Amelia Middle evacuated after threat
Patton calls for harmony
History merges with parade, parties
Teacher's quiet plea against jail makes the biggest impact
Top Taft aide leaves to boost GOP
Ensemble Theatre's 'Around the World' wizardry
GET TO IT
Gift ideas for exercise fanatics
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Wooden Ramp could help Pleasant Ridge man
$4.5M levy proposed for firefighters
As development heats up in Woodlawn, fast food might, too
Birders will scour skies of county parks
Boy, 17, charged in Anderson Township stabbing
Hands placed on girl's throat
Hilltop plans on mine in Boone Co.
Kenton lost, hasn't paid suit
Lakota schools to ask voters for $52.7M in March
Lawyer: Drug may have killed
Lebanon mayor likes new team
Minister will return to face rape charges
Reds authority dies