The Columbine Tapes: The Politics: Enter The Big Guns

The feds threaten gunmakers with a huge lawsuit, and most can't afford not to talk settlement

Eight months after Columbine--and only one day after the small Oklahoma town of Fort Gibson became the latest stage for an apple-cheeked boy to open fire on his schoolmates--the gun industry faced its biggest threat, the one that could finally force major changes in the way firearms are made and marketed.

On Tuesday, the Clinton Administration said it was preparing to file a class action on behalf of the nation's 3,191 public-housing authorities. Twenty-nine cities and counties have already filed suits against the manufacturers since October of last year, seeking to recover the public costs of gun violence, force the design...

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