A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that New York City's lawsuit against gun manufacturers and distributors can go forward, despite new federal legislation devised to protect gun makers from such lawsuits. The ruling, by Judge Jack B. Weinstein of United States District Court, was a significant victory for the city, which has argued that some gun makers and sellers know about the flood of handguns into the underground market, and have the power to minimize it by relatively simple means, but refuse to do so.
In his ruling, Judge Weinstein postponed a trial so the gun manufacturers could appeal.
Gun makers named in the suit include Beretta U.S.A., Browning Arms, Colt Manufacturing, Glock and Smith & Wesson.
The judge ruled that the new law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, does not apply to the city's lawsuit because it falls under a narrow exception that allows lawsuits against the gun makers if their sales or marketing practices violate state or federal statutes.
The ruling contained one victory for the gunmakers: the judge rejected the city's argument that the new law was unconstitutional.