Mexico sues US gun manufacturers and distributors

The Mexican government sued United States gun manufacturers and distributors Wednesday in US federal court, arguing that their negligent and illegal commercial practices have unleashed tremendous bloodshed in Mexico.

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Illustrative image shows man with a gun

The unusual lawsuit was filed in US federal court in Boston. Among those being sued are some of the biggest names in guns, including: Smith & Wesson Brands, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta USA, Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC, and Glock. Another defendant is Interstate Arms, a Boston-area wholesaler that sells guns from all but one of the named manufacturers to dealers around the US.

The manufacturers did not immediately answer requests for comment.

The Mexican government argues that the companies know that their practices contribute to the trafficking 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 Defendants cause by actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico,” the lawsuit said.

The government estimates that 70 percent of the weapons trafficked to Mexico come from the US, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. And that in 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides were linked to trafficked weapons.

Alejandro Celorio, legal adviser for the ministry, told reporters Wednesday that the damage caused by the trafficked guns would be equal to 1.7 percent to 2 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. The government will seek at least $10bn in compensation, he said. Mexico’s GDP last year was more than $1.2 trillion.

“We don’t do it to pressure the United States,” Celorio said. “We do it so there aren’t deaths in Mexico.”