WASHINGTON - Seven major gun makers filed suit Wednesday seeking to stop a growing movement by government officials to force changes in the design and sale of firearms.
The lawsuit, filed in Atlanta federal court, accuses U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and officials of 16 state and local governments of an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade against the firearms industry.
"An anti-gun agenda does not excuse anti-democratic behavior," said Robert Delfay, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a Connecticut-based trade group that joined the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks to block the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state and local governments from giving preference in their purchases of police firearms to gun makers that adopt a ground-breaking code of conduct patterned after one signed last month by Smith & Wesson.
Under that accord, Smith & Wesson has agreed to install trigger locks, develop "smart guns" that can only be fired by their owners and cut off shipments to dealers who refuse to toughen screening of buyers.
Mr. Cuomo dismissed the lawsuit as an attempt by gun makers to "distract from their failure to take responsibility for their share of the tragic problem of gun violence."