The District of Columbia City Council, trying to stem the city's rising homicide rate, proposed making handgun manufacturers and sellers liable for injuries and deaths caused by those weapons. Sponsors of the legislation said it will be the first of its kind in the nation. "This legislation is designed to force gun manufacturers to consider carefully the purposes for which handguns are manufactured," said Council Chairman David Clarke, the bill's original sponsor. The bill, which would hold handgun manufacturers, importers and dealers liable for damage caused by handguns, is supported by 12 of the 13 council members. Clarke predicted that pro-gun groups will try to block the measure in the House of Representatives, which reviews legislation from the council.