The City got a big boost yesterday in it's fight against gun manufacturers and distributers when a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that the City's lawsuit can go forward, despite new federal legislation devised to prevent just such lawsuits.

The city is arguing, as we understand it, that some gun makers are knowingly letting handguns get into the black market, effectively creating a need for more guns on the street. Gun makers named in the suit include all the big 'uns like Berretta U.S.A., Browning Arms, Colt Manufacturing, Glock and Smith & Wessson. The Times explains:

The judge ruled that the new law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, does not apply to the city's lawsuit because it falls under a narrow exception that allows lawsuits against the gun makers if their sales or marketing practices violate state or federal statutes.

The ruling contained one victory for the gunmakers: the judge rejected the city's argument that the new law was unconstitutional.

The city argues that the firearms makers and distributors, by failing to monitor retail dealers closely enough, allow guns to end up in the hands of criminals. As result, the gun makers, under the city's argument, have created "a condition that negatively affects the public health or safety," and thus have violated the state's nuisance law.

The case was originally supposed to go to trail on November 28th, until the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (Bloomie calls it the "Protection of Lethal Commerce in Arms Act") was passed by Congress and Bush in October. That caused the case to be delayed until now, and considering the inevitable appeals from the gun industry (because of the new law one gun makers lawyer insists that "there is just no 'there' there" in the case) we just can't imagine it going to trail for another six months at least. But then! Then we should see a very, very interesting trial.