US judge rejects Mexican lawsuit against American gun makers
A lawsuit was filed by the Mexican government against US gun manufacturers, with accusations that their commercial practices caused bloodshed in Mexico.
A US judge dismissed a $10 billion lawsuit filed by Mexico against American gun manufacturers, accusing them of fueling drug trafficking and violence in Mexico.
Judge Dennis Saylor of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said the nation's claims failed to overcome the extensive protections afforded to firearm manufacturers by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was passed by the US Congress in 2005.
"Unfortunately for the government of Mexico, all of its claims are either barred by federal law or fail for other reasons," Saylor wrote in a 44-page decision.
"While the court has considerable sympathy for the people of Mexico, and none whatsoever for those who traffic guns to Mexican criminal organizations, it is duty-bound to follow the law."
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Mexico filed a lawsuit in August 2021, against nine US gun manufacturers and two distributors, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt, Glock, Century Arms, Ruger, and Barrett, for what it called a "negligent and illicit" trade that encourages drug trafficking and violence in its territory.
70-90% of the weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were trafficked from the United States, according to the Mexican government.
The lawsuit sought monetary damages for the harm caused by the firms' alleged "negligent practices," as well as the establishment of adequate standards to "monitor and discipline" arms dealers.
Plagued by violence
Following the dismissal of the judge, Mexico's Foreign Ministry stated that the case would be pursued further.
"The civil suit for damages against those who profit from the violence suffered by Mexicans goes to a second stage, in which the Foreign Ministry will continue to insist that the negligence of these companies seriously affects our country," the Ministry said in a statement.
Mexico, which has a population of 126 million people, has been plagued by widespread deadly violence since December 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon's government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation.
#Mexico has filed a lawsuit against #US gun manufacturers for "negligent practices", seeking billions in damages. pic.twitter.com/lHUSlHz6RS— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) August 6, 2021
More than 300,000 people have been murdered in Mexico since then, the vast majority with firearms and in drug-related incidents, according to government figures.
Mexico tightly controls weapons sales; they are practically impossible to access legally.
According to the lawsuit, some manufacturers, such as Colt, specifically market their firearms to Mexican criminal cartels.
According to the filing, the company sells three pistols that it "targets to Mexican buyers." They are the "El Jefe," the "El Grito" and the "Emiliano Zapata 1911," all of which are .38 caliber handgun models that the lawsuit said are "status symbols and coveted by drug cartels."
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Mexico sues US arms manufacturers
Last year in August, Mexico filed lawsuits against the top US arms manufacturing companies in a federal court in Boston, on Thursday.
The main goal, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, is to get the companies that are being sued to compensate the Mexican government for the damages caused by their practices.
He went on to say that it is up to the court to decide the amount of compensation and to set and apply verifiable standards to monitor the marketing businesses and, if necessary, inflict penalties.
Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Colt's Manufacturing Company, and Glock Inc. are among the firms listed in the case, knowing that the hearing will be in a US court.
Mexico said the US arms-producing companies were aware of the damage they were inflicting on Mexico.
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