Cities Take Aim At Guns

Thirty-six thousand Americans are killed by gunfire each year, about 2,000 of them in California. On Tuesday, Los Angeles and San Francisco opened a western front in the war on gun violence. Their lawsuit charges gun manufacturers are deliberately flooding the market with an unsafe product, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker.

L.A. City Attorney Jim Hahn says, "What makes the gun manufacturers different than auto manufacturers, than people who manufacture electronics or electric devices that injure people because of negligent design? Is there some exception somewhere?"

Triggered by the successful suits against big tobacco, ten other U.S. cities and counties now are also suing gun makers.

But these California suits are different. Not only do they have the weight of the biggest cities in the biggest state, but they fall under California business laws. Gun makers could face separate penalties for almost every gun death or injury.

Since Columbine, gun supporters have been lying low, but they shot back Tuesday. One group plans to counter-sue, claiming the cities don't want gun control, but gun eradication.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, said, "It's like suing General Motors because a Chevy was used as a getaway car."

But their opposition is growing. The Bell Campaign, a gun-control group modeled after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, opened a nationwide offensive Tuesday.

The group's Mary Leigh Blek lost her son Matthew to gun violence. "We will be as effective as the gun lobby. I think that we love our children more than they love their guns."

Both lobbyists and lawyers are preparing for a battle royale.