Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, signed a bill Friday banning Texas cities from suing gun makers.

"Governor Bush does not believe the manufacturer of a legal product should be held responsible for the criminal misuse of that product," said a statement issued by his office.

Approved by the Texas legislature last month, the bill would require cities or counties to obtain legislative approval before they can sue gun producers. In most cases, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn would decide whether to sue on behalf of cities, counties or the state.

The bill effectively bans Texas cities from joining others around the country that have filed suits against gun manufacturers to recover public costs associated with gun violence. Laws aimed at thwarting such suits are currently being considered by several state legislatures.

Bush's statement said the Texas law was aimed at preventing frivolous suits, adding that legislation rather than litigation was the best way to accomplish things in a democracy.

During his first term as governor, Bush backed legislation allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns. His pro-gun stance, which goes down well with Texas voters, has drawn criticism from political opponents in the early stages of the presidential race.