11 Gun Makers Dropped From NJ Suit

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - A federal judge dropped 11 of 21 gun makers from a lawsuit brought against the industry by Camden County, saying the manufacturers cannot be held responsible for the actions of gun users. The county is seeking restitution for the costs of handgun violence and wants to force the industry to improve gun safety. In a decision released Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle said the case suffers from a ``fatal defect.'' More than 30 U.S. cities and counties have sued the industry, with mixed results. Last year a state judge allowed Atlanta's lawsuit to proceed. But an Illinois judge dismissed Chicago's case in September. In its lawsuit, filed in 1999, Camden County said gun makers allowed weapons to fall into criminals' hands because of lax distribution policies and irresponsible marketing. Thirty people were killed by handguns in Camden County in 1998. Eleven of the manufacturers asked for case to be dismissed. They included Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Colt's Manufacturing Co., Glock GmbH and Glock Inc., Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. Ten manufacturers remain as defendants. AP-NY-12-08-00 1518EST
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