Mexico sues U.S. gun companies, saying their business practices fuel cartel violence

Mexico sues U.S. gun companies, saying their business practices fuel cartel violence
AP Photo/Augusto Zurita
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The Mexican government announced on Wednesday that it plans to sue gun companies in the United States. 

As the New York Times reported, the complaint, which was filed in the court of Massachusetts, claims that gun manufacturers are “designing, marketing, distributing, and selling guns ‘in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico.'”

“For decades, the government and its citizens have been victimized by a deadly flood of military-style and other particularly lethal guns that flows from the U.S. across the border,” the lawsuit reportedly reads. The flow of guns is “the foreseeable result of the defendants’ deliberate actions and business practices.”

The lawsuit claims that the manufacturers “are conscious of the fact that their products are trafficked and used in illicit activities against the civilian population and authorities of Mexico,” according to a document from the Foreign Ministry, the Washington Post reported. 

“Nonetheless, they continue to prioritize their economic benefit, and use marketing strategies to promote weapons that are ever more lethal, without mechanisms of security or traceability,” the document added.

“These weapons are intimately linked to the violence that Mexico is living through today,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard stated at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Our main goal is that those companies stop doing what they are doing, that this impunity over the illicit trafficking of guns toward our country stops,” Ebrard added, per the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times added:

Officials from Mexico’s foreign ministry said that the ultimate goal of the suit was getting U.S. gun makers to be more responsible in the sale and marketing of their arms. The suit does not specify how much compensation the government is seeking, but Foreign Ministry officials said they had calculated up to $10 billion in potential damages.

The companies named in the suit are Smith & Wesson; Barrett Firearms Manufacturing; Beretta U.S.A.; Beretta Holding; Century International Arms; Colt’s Manufacturing Company; Glock, Inc.; Glock Ges.m.b.H; Sturm, Ruger & Co.; and Witmer Public Safety Group and Interstate Arms, both gun suppliers.

In April, President Joe Biden voiced his support for people looking to sue makers of guns, stating: This is the only outfit that is exempt from being sued. If I get one thing on my list — (if) the Lord came down and said, ‘Joe, you get one of these’ — give me that one.”

“Most people don’t realize, the only industry in America, billion-dollar industry, that can’t be sued, exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers.”

In a White House fact sheet released in April, the Biden administration announced that it was taking measures to address gun violence. Biden also called on Congress to pass laws to remove gun makers’ immunity from liability.

The fact sheet reads, in part:

President Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. Last month, a bipartisan coalition in the House passed two bills to close loopholes in the gun background check system. Congress should close those loopholes and go further, including by closing “boyfriend” and stalking loopholes that currently allow people found by the courts to be abusers to possess firearms, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and investing in evidence-based community violence interventions. Congress should also pass an appropriate national “red flag” law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own.

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