The Mexican government claims that American arms manufacturers have knowingly adopted business practices that facilitate arms smuggling.
The Mexican government has sued a number of US firearms manufacturers and dealers, alleging that their “ruthless” and “negligent” business practices have fueled enormous violence in Mexico.
National Public Radio reports that the lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Boston.
The unusual lawsuit names a number of American arms manufacturers as defendants, including Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., Baretta USA Corp., Colt’s Manufacturing Company, and Glock Inc.
Interstate Firearms, a Massachusetts arms wholesaler, is also named in the complaint.
According to the NPR, Mexico claims that each of the publicly traded companies knows, or should have known, that their business practices facilitate trade in firearms into Mexico.
Now Mexico wants a federal court to compensate it for the tremendous suffering that gun violence has caused the country.
Revolver and some bullets; Image courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com
In its complaint, the country’s government says it is “ending this move to put an end to the massive damage the defendants are causing by actively facilitating the illicit trafficking of their weapons to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico”.
The lawsuit relates to the Mexican government’s estimate that approximately 70% of all firearms traded in Mexico come from the United States. According to the Foreign Ministry, around 17,000 homicides were linked to arms smuggling in 2019 alone.
Alejandro Celerio, a legal advisor to the State Department, said the economic damage from the illegal arms trade is between 1.7% and 2% of Mexico’s gross domestic product.
“We’re not doing this to put pressure on the US,” Celerio told journalists on Wednesday. “We are doing it so that there are no deaths in Mexico.”
However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an advocacy group representing the firearms industry, has said Mexico’s allegations are completely unfounded.
“These allegations are unfounded,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the NHSF.
Keane said the Mexican government – not the United States and not American gun manufacturers – was solely responsible for enforcing its gun laws.
“Mexico’s criminal activity is a direct result of the illicit drug trafficking, human trafficking and organized crime cartels that plague Mexico’s citizens,” he added.
Still, another Mexican government official told the New York Times that the ultimate goal of the lawsuit was to make US arms manufacturers and suppliers more accountable in the sale and marketing of their weapons.
Although the lawsuit doesn’t ask for a specific amount of compensation, the Times says State Department officials have suggested that they may be eligible to seek damages of up to $ 10 billion.
Mexico is suing gun companies in the US, accusing them of stirring up violence
Mexico is suing US arms manufacturers and sees $ 10 billion in damages
Mexico is suing US arms manufacturers for involvement in arms trafficking deaths