The Mexican government sued United States gun manufacturers and distributors Wednesday in U.S. federal court arguing that their negligent and illegal practices have unleashed tremendous bloodshed in Mexico.
The unusual lawsuit was filed in U.S. federal court in Boston. Among those being sued are some of the biggest names in guns, including: Smith Wesson Brands, Inc. Beretta U.S. A. Corp. Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC and Glock Inc. Another defendant is Interstate Arms, a Boston-area wholesaler that sells guns from all three names to dealers around the U.S.
The manufacturers did not immediately respond to comment requests.
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The Mexican government argues that the companies know that their practices contribute to the illegal distribution of guns to Mexico and facilitate it. Mexico wants compensation for the havoc the guns have wrought in its country.
The Mexican government 'brings this action to put an end to the massive damage that the Plaintiffs cause by actively facilitating the illegal trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico, the lawsuit said.
According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, 70% of the weapons that are exported to Mexico come from the U.S. And that in 2019 alone at least 17,000 cases were linked to trafficked weapons.
Alejandro Celorio, the legal advisor of the ministry, told reporters Tuesday that the damage caused by the trafficked guns would be equal to 1.7% to 2% of Mexico's gross domestic product. The government would seek at least $10 billion in compensation, he said. Last year, Mexico's GDP was more than $1.2 trillion. We don't do it to pressure the United States of America, Celorio said. Ebrard said the lawsuit is another piece of the government's efforts against guns. 'The priority is that we reduce homicides, he said. 'We aren't looking to change american laws.
Mexico did not seek the advice of the U.S. government on the matter but advised the U.S. Embassy before filing the lawsuit.
Steve Shadowen, the lead attorney representing Mexico, said that in the early 2000s about 30 U.S. cities brought similar litigation against gun manufacturers arguing that they should be responsible for increased police, hospitalization and other costs associated with gun violence.
As cities started wining, gun manufacturers went to Congress and got immunity from the manufacturer. Shadowen said he believes that immunity doesn't apply when injury occurs outside of the United States.
'The merits of the case are strongly in our favor and we then have to get around this immunity statute that we think we're going to win, said he. 'That statute just simply doesn't apply. It only applies when you're in the United States.
He said he believes it is the first time foreign government has sued gun manufacturers.
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The sale of firearms is severely restricted in Mexico and controlled by the Defense Department. But thousands of guns are imported into Mexico by the country's powerful drug cartels.
There were more than 36,000 murders in Mexico last year, and the toll has remained stubbornly high despite President Andrs Manuel L pez Obrador's pledge to pacify the country. In 2020, the death rate in Mexico remained unchanged. This will be 29 per 100,000 inhabitants. By comparison, in 2019 the U.S. homicide rate was 5.8 per 100,000.
In August 2019, a gunman killed 23 people in an El Paso Walmart, including some Mexican citizens. At the time, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that the government would explore its legal options. The government said Wednesday that recent decisions in U.S. courts contributed to its decision to file the lawsuit.
It was cited a decision in Newtown, Connecticut allowing a lawsuit against Smith Wesson to move forward, a lawsuit filed last week against Century Arms related to a 2019 shooting in Gilroy, California, and the $33 million settlement reached by Remington with some families whose children were killed in the mass shooting in California.