Last Wednesday, Mexico filed suit against a number of gun companies in a U.S. federal court. The nation accused the gun companies of reckless business practices which led to a flood of illegal weapons among Mexican drug cartels. As a result, these guns led to thousands of deaths.
US Gun Companies On The Dock
The Mexican lawsuit names several US gun companies. The list includes Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Glock Inc, Sturm, Ruger & Co, and others. Mexico alleges that these companies know the effect of their marketing activities among cartel groups. As a result, they encouraged illegal arms trafficking.
Mexico accused the companies of helping cartels flout its strict gun laws by marketing to the underworld. In effect, their practices are “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels”.
For example, Mexico pointed to weapons used in infamous shooting incidents. The suit pointed at Colt’s .38 caliber “Emiliano Zapata 1911” pistol. The weapon features an engraving of the Mexican revolutionary. As a result, cartels all over the country consider the gun as a status symbol.
What’s The Objective?
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard explained the motives of the lawsuit against the US gun companies. “What’s the objective? That the companies in question compensate Mexico’s government for the damage caused by their negligent practices,” he explained.
Ebrard appeared at a news conference after the filing of the lawsuit. The delegation filed the suit in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The lawsuit represents one of the most daring moves made by the Mexican government against US gun companies. However, authorities have long blamed the manufacturers for fueling gang violence in their country.
Brand said that gun companies should end their harmful practices. Even as they demanded $10 billion in damages, Brand said that the court will decide on the extent of damages gun companies should pay.
Gun Associations Reject Mexico’s Claims
US gun companies did not immediately respond to the lawsuit. However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc (NSSF) took up the cudgels. It flatly denied allegations that firearm manufacturers were negligent in their business practices.
In fact, nobody is to blame except Mexico itself. Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s senior vice president, said that “The Mexican government is responsible for the rampant crime and corruption within their own borders.” Cartels use guns taken illegally to Mexico or stolen from the Mexican military and law enforcement, he added.
In addition, Mexican officials said they spent the last two years analyzing legal precedents over negligence by US gun companies. The cited a recent settlement offer by Remington Arms Co to pay nearly $33 million to families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims.
The lawsuit claimed that Remington’s marketing of firearms contributed to the deaths of 26 people in 2012.
Other plaintiffs also used claims of improper marketing when suing gun companies. This is a rare exception in the legal immunity of gun companies in the US. This also forces manufacturers to practice more transparency.
Watch the Reuters news video reporting that Mexico is suing US gun firms, seeking $10 billion:
Do you support the lawsuit against US gun manufacturers by Mexico? Do you think the suit will amount to anything, especially since it’s filed in the US?
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