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Lawsuit Filed Against Gunmakers

June 3, 1999

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Camden County has joined the list of governments suing the gun industry to recover costs stemming from handgun violence.

The lawsuit does not specify a damage amount, but officials said Wednesday that the county has spent millions cleaning up the damage wrought by firearms.

The county, the first local government to file such a suit in the state, wants to recoup part of the cost of running offices for the prosecutor, sheriff and medical examiner, and the juvenile detention center and county jail, officials said.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, also seeks to compel the gun industry to use so-called ``smart gun″ technology, rendering guns inoperable by anyone except the registered owner.

Last year, 30 people were killed by handguns in Camden County, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

The lawsuit names 21 gun manufacturers, and also includes 20 ``John Doe″ manufacturers, distributors and dealers whose names are not yet known.

Nearly a dozen municipal or county governments have sued, including New Orleans, Chicago, Miami and Dade County, Fla.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Atlanta; Cleveland; Detroit and Wayne County, Mich.; and Cincinnati.

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