AR-15s on display at a gun store in Virginia
AR-15s on display at a gun store in Virginia / Stephen Gutowski

Mexico Files New Suit Against American Gun Dealers

After failing on the first attempt, Mexico is again trying its luck against the American firearms industry in court.

The Mexican government filed a new lawsuit on Monday against U.S. gun companies it claims are responsible for firearms that criminal organizations traffic through the southern border. The latest suit, filed in an Arizona federal court, targets five Arizona gun dealers it claims “routinely and systematically” provide guns for criminal organizations in Mexico through straw purchases.

“The lawsuit is part of a multifaceted strategy by the Government of Mexico to stop the avalanche of weapons, particularly assault weapons, coming from the United States that empower criminal groups, cause bloodshed in Mexico and contribute to drug trafficking to the United States,” the Mexican government’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in a press release. “This court action in no way challenges the Constitutional right of U.S. citizens to bear arms, nor the right of stores to sell their products responsibly and lawfully. The lawsuit addresses a cause shared by both countries, whose citizens suffer from illicit firearms practices.”

The new suit will provide another high-profile test of the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Long a bogeyman for gun-control advocates, the decades-old statute shields licensed dealers and manufacturers from liability for the criminal use of their products by third parties. It is meant to shield the industry from frivolous lawsuits filed against businesses over crimes they had no direct role in committing.

If successful, the suit would provide a major victory to American gun-control groups who have long hoped to pierce the statute’s liability shield. If not, it could be another embarrassing loss for the Mexican government that may further alienate the country from many of its neighbors to the north, who view the suits as an attack on their gun rights.

Brady United, an American gun-control group, is helping Mexico in its latest challenge. Jonathan Lowy, vice president of Brady’s litigation arm, is one of Mexico’s lead lawyers in the case. The group was also involved in the previous failed effort.

Brady did not respond to a request for comment.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade group, previously told The Reload that Mexico’s claims against the U.S. gun industry were “misguided and baseless.”

“The crime that is devastating the people of Mexico is not the fault of members of the firearm industry, that under U.S. law, can only sell their lawful products to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights after passing a background check,” Larry Keane, the group’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, said.

Keane rejected any attempt to make licensed gun dealers and manufacturers in America responsible “for Mexico’s unwillingness and inability to bring Mexican drug cartels to justice in Mexican courtrooms.”

Mexico filed a $10 billion suit last year against some of the country’s largest and most prominent gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson and Ruger. That complaint alleged up to 90 percent of guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico originated in the United States, with the suit’s defendants producing more than 68 percent of those guns. The suit accused the gunmakers of failing to implement safety practices to prevent illegal gun trafficking.

A Massachusetts federal judge dismissed the suit late last month after finding the PLCAA blocked Mexico’s claims.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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