Gunmakers Aiming At Safety

For the first since they have been sued, gun manufacturers started talking with various cities about how to improve gun safety and make it harder to get weapons, The New York Times reported.

Unidentified gun industry executives who attended the meeting in Washington said they would consider a list of the cities' demands, including mandatory safety devices and a crackdown on corrupt gun retailers, the newspaper reported.

The meeting, held Monday, is an initial effort to have the suits dropped, the report said.

If an agreement can be reached, the cities say they will withdraw their legal actions, which seek millions of dollars in damages to recoup costs related to gun violence.

Present at the meeting were Ed Shultz, chief executive of Smith and Wesson Corp., and officials from Sturm, Ruger and Co., Colt's Manufacturing, O.F. Mossberg and sons, Taurus, Glock and Beretta.

Several gun makers, including the so-called Ring of Fire companies that encircle Los Angeles, were not invited. Also not invited was Washington attorney John Coale, one of a group of lawyers who represent Newark, N.J., New Orleans, Atlanta, Cleveland and Cincinatti.

City officials are seeking tighter controls by manufacturers over distribution to wholesalers and retailers.

With the goal of curbing the supply of handguns to criminals and juveniles through corrupt dealers, the companies would be cut off from those who supply a high number of guns used in crimes.

Any agreement would be overseen by an independent monitor picked by the cities and approved and paid for by the gun makers, lawyers involved in the talks told the Times.

Other demands include placing external locks on all guns, incorporating new technology allowing only owners to fire their guns and ending the sale of handguns at gun shows and on the Internet. In addition, city officials want advertisements stopped that claim guns increase home safety.