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NAACP to sue gun makers



NAACP targets minority gap in Internet use, TV roles


July 12, 1999
Web posted at: 1:48 p.m. EDT (1748 GMT)

In this story:

Suit seeks change in manufacturing, distribution

More than 100 companies named


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Hoping to keep guns from criminals, the NAACP said Monday it will sue handgun manufacturers, distributors and importers, seeking restrictions on the marketing and sale of firearms.

The move would put the nation's largest civil rights group in league with cities like New Orleans, Chicago, Cleveland and Boston which have sued the firearms industry in hopes of curbing street and schoolyard violence.

"They can't scare us," President Kweisi Mfume said in New York at the 90th annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "They will now have to deal with us."

He said the lawsuit would be filed this week in Brooklyn Federal Court and will seek no monetary damages.

Suit seeks change in manufacturing, distribution

Instead, he said, the aim is to force gun manufacturers to better monitor where guns are distributed and to limit multiple purchases by individuals.

"We will seek to implement specific changes in the manufacturing and distribution practices to promote more responsibility and accountability" in the gun industry, Mfume said.

The changes being sought include mandatory safety enhancements like trigger locks and industry support of a ban on secondary firearms sales at gun shows.

The NAACP leader called the lawsuit "an effort to break the backs of those who perpetuate the sale of guns in our community."

More than 100 companies named

He did not cite any gun manufacturers by name. But NAACP attorney Denise Dunleavey said more than 100 companies will be named as defendants.

The NAACP suit takes an approach similar to a case decided earlier this year, also in Brooklyn Federal Court.

A jury returned a $4 million verdict based upon a new strategy by plaintiffs -- that the gun industry's negligence in marketing and distribution allowed weapons to flow illegally to states with strict anti-gun laws.

After Mfume's speech, he and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond both said they were motivated to file the suit by Congress' failure to pass gun safety legislation and efforts by state lawmakers in Georgia, Louisiana and Illinois to prevent cities from suing gunmakers.

Bond said African-Americans ages 15-24 were five times as likely as whites of the same age group to be injured by firearms.

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National Rifle Association
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