- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

The city of Boston yesterday withdrew its lawsuit against firearms manufacturers, choosing instead to work with the industry to reduce violence rather than to fight it in court.
Boston was one of several dozen municipalities that have sued manufacturers to recover costs associated with shootings. The localities usually argue that the industry has been negligent in preventing firearms from reaching criminals.
But the city's case had proceeded the furthest of any of the cases courts had already upheld the legal basis for a challenge and lawsuit supporters had high hopes for it.
In a document filed with its request, the city said it "acknowledges that the members of the industry and firearms trade associations are genuinely concerned with, and are committed to, the safe, legal and responsible sale and use of their products."
Dennis Henigan, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project, which provided legal help to Boston on the suit, said the city ran out of money to pursue the case.
"The gun industry obviously does everything it can to increase the cost of litigation to a plaintiff like Boston," he said. "We think it's very sad Boston was not able to continue to marshal the resources to continue the case."
He said he hopes to use the information gathered in discovery in the case in the other cases. California's case now becomes the most advanced case.
"It is in no way a vindication of the gun industry," he said. "It has no effect on what other cities will do."
But James Jay Baker, director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, said he hopes other cities pay attention to Boston's decision.
"I don't think they ever should have brought it, and the fact they agreed to have it dismissed with prejudice, meaning they can't bring it up again, is a pretty clear indication that they had no case to start with," he said.


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