Mexico’s Lawsuit Against US Gun Manufacturers Legal
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Mexico’s Lawsuit Against US Gun Manufacturers Legal

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/09/2022 - 12:35

Two countries plus 13 US States have announced their support to Mexico’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers and distributors, since their lack of regulation has increased organized crime and violence in the country. The Mexican government has stated that US laws protect companies within its territory, but not from allegations in other countries. Consequently, the claim is viable and must be admitted.

Recently, Antigua and Barbuda and Belize announced their support for Mexico's lawsuit and urged federal judges not to dismiss the lawsuit as many lives are in danger. In addition, 13 US states, including California, New York and Massachusetts, agreed with Mexican authorities that the US law does not prohibit the country's placed lawsuit, since the law only protects companies from injuries and allegations that occur in the US, but not in other countries. Consequently, the Mexican government emphasized that the lawsuit is legal and therefore must be reviewed.

The accused companies have not commented on the new arguments in the case. However, they previously said that the Mexican government is to blame for the violence in the country because it has not been able to establish laws and actions that protect its citizens.

On Aug. 4, the Mexican government announced it was suing six manufacturers:  Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Glock and Ruger for promoting access to high-powered weapons without having strict regulations. According to the lawsuit, more than 500,000 firearms are trafficked annually from the US to Mexico, of which more than 68 percent come from these six companies.

The Mexican government argued that the lack of regulation contributes to illegal arms trafficking in Mexico, linked to massacres and violent incidents. In 2019, weapons smuggled across the border were responsible for 17,000 murders. Furthermore, the estimated damage to the economy caused by violence is approximately 1.7 percent of the country’s GDP.

Mexican authorities stressed they respect the rights and freedom of US citizens and therefore it does not question the right to bear arms or sell weapons, but rather the lack of gun control that have caused harm to thousands of Mexicans. As a consequence, Mexican authorities are seeking US$10 billion in damages and that US arms manufacturers "develop and implement reasonable and verifiable standards to monitor and, where appropriate, discipline their distributors."

The lawsuit´s main argument is that these companies know that their weapons are being trafficked and used in illicit activities and, despite this, the companies promote their sale and allow buyers to acquire various weapons, without verifying their background. For its part, the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc (NSSF) has rejected Mexico's claims, saying that "the government is responsible for rampant crime and corruption within its own borders."

Photo by:   Thomas Def

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