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La. Gov. Wants To Shield Gunmakers

February 11, 1999

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Less than a day after Georgia became the first state to shield gun makers from product liability lawsuits by cities and counties, Louisiana’s governor said he supports such a ban.

Gov. Mike Foster on Wednesday threw his backing behind a bill that would block a New Orleans lawsuit seeking damages from gun manufacturers for the costs of gun violence. The bill Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes signed Tuesday was meant to block a similar case by Atlanta.

``Georgia had no problem with it,″ Foster said while speaking to a civic club in Baton Rouge. ``And we, in Louisiana, believe in 2nd Amendment rights.″

New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial criticized Foster’s decision, saying the bill ``is a sad sellout to the money and power of the gun lobby.″

The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Steve Scalise, who plans to run for the seat of outgoing U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston. He said the goal is to protect gun store owners from the cost of defending lawsuits.

``It’s the criminals, not the small businesses, that must accept responsibility when they pull the trigger,″ Scalise said.

Foster’s announcement came a day after Morial suspended a controversial gun swap deal between New Orleans and Glock Inc.

Instead of paying $630,300 for 1,700 new pistols, New Orleans agreed to give the Smyrna, Ga.-based company old police pistols and thousands of confiscated guns.

Morial suspended the contract, citing reports that some of the weapons may have resurfaced in Louisiana, which would violate the contract.

Update hourly