updated 7/20/2006 2:11:53 PM ET 2006-07-20T18:11:53

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr filed a $400 million lawsuit against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday, claiming Bloomberg’s attempt to crack down on gun dealers was “careless, willful and clearly illegal.”

The lawsuit, filed in Cobb County Superior Court, came in response to a federal lawsuit filed by Bloomberg in May alleging that 15 firearm brokers in five states, including Georgia, were “rogue gun dealers.”

Bloomberg’s chief spokesman, Stu Loeser, dismissed the suit as a “public relations stunt.”

Bloomberg recently went to Georgia and discussed gun control with the mayor of Atlanta, who is part of his coalition of mayors against gun violence.

Barr’s lawsuit alleges that Bloomberg made misleading statements to the national media that were defamatory toward Smyrna, Ga., gun dealer Adventure Outdoors.

“We didn’t start this fight. They did,” Barr told a cheering crowd in Marietta’s city square. “But we intend to finish it and win.”

Bloomberg’s lawsuit claims that the dealer sold 21 guns over a seven-year period that were used in New York crimes. The shop’s owner, Jay Wallace, said his name has been “trashed in the public eye of the nation.”

“I’ve run my business with honesty and integrity, and I take pride in being part of the firearm industry,” he said.

Second Amendment dispute
The announcement took on a patriotic tune as flag-waving supporters cheered the news of the lawsuit and danced.

“We will fight to prove the Constitution of the United States is still intact, and that Mr. Bloomberg’s fight to abolish the Second Amendment must and will fail,” said Edwin Marger, a lawyer who filed the lawsuit with Barr.

“Mayor Bloomberg is fighting to protect police officers and citizens from illegal guns, which has nothing at all to do with the Second Amendment,” Loeser said.

The Republican mayor has made cracking down on the flow of such guns into New York a principal goal of his second term in office.

Bloomberg’s lawsuit asks the federal court to order supervision and extra training for the gun dealers in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. It also seeks some damages and compensation.

Barr, who served four terms in Congress before losing a primary in 2002, is perhaps best remembered for leading the charge to impeach President Clinton.

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