Million dollar lawsuit: Mexico requests at least $ 10 billion from arms manufacturers in the United States for promoting violence

Million dollar lawsuit: Mexico requests at least $ 10 billion from arms manufacturers in the United States for promoting violence

The lawsuit claims that US arms manufacturers facilitate illegal arms trafficking to Mexico.

Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The government of Mexico presented on Wednesday a lawsuit against eleven US arms manufacturers and dealers for being directly linked to the violence in Mexico in addition to carrying out practices that allow the illegal trafficking of weapons that reach the hands of organized crime.

It is a new chapter in the bilateral relationship on the issue of security that shows that the issue is a priority for the government of Mexico but has little chance of success in court.

The lawsuit was filed in a United States Federal Court in Boston and aims to “end the massive harm that defendants cause by actively facilitating the illegal trafficking of their weapons to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico,” it says. the demand.

Is about the first time a government has sued arms manufacturers in the United States, but nevertheless, experts in the field point out that it has little chance of winning Because federal law in the United States gives gun manufacturers immunity from lawsuits filed by victims. But nevertheless, legal action could provide political support for the discussion on gun regulations in the United States.

The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said during a press conference that after two years of work, “Mexico seeks that the companies compensate the Mexican government for the damages caused by their negligent practices, the moment of this lawsuit will be determined in the trial. ”.

“We are going to win the trial and we are going to drastically reduce the illicit arms trade to Mexico since those who produce, promote and encourage this traffic from the United States cannot go unpunished,” said Ebrard.

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The lawsuit does not specify the compensation that the government is seeking, however, according to The New York Times newspaper, Mexican Foreign Ministry officials estimated that potential potential damages would amount to little more than $ 10 billion.

The lawsuit has been criticized because Several of the defendant companies are also suppliers of legal weapons to the Mexican Army and police.. Among them are Smith & Wesson, Colt and Glock.

A report by the United States Comptroller General (GAO) published in February notes that 70% of the firearms that were recovered in Mexico between 2014 and 2018 are of American origin.

According to the demand, Homicides in Mexico decreased during the period from 1999 to 2004, but then increased dramatically from 2004, “At the same time that the arms manufacturing companies increased the production, distribution and commercialization of their weapons for military use”, says one of their arguments.

Related: US Gun Sales Increase 134% in July Hitting a New Record

The NSSF response

The response of the Industrial Association of the Firearms Trade, NSSF, for its acronym in English, rejected the accusations and argued that the claim is unfounded since Mexico is responsible for crimes committed with firearms in its territory and corruption in border customs.

“Rather than seeking a scapegoat for law-abiding US companies, Mexican authorities should focus their efforts on bringing the cartels to justice,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

The response adds that it is the cartels that misuse firearms illegally imported into Mexico or stolen from the Mexican army and public order forces.

Both the NSSF and the National Rifle Association (NRA) denied that these weapons cannot come from their organizations and called on the Mexican government to bring the cartels to justice.

The Mexican government’s lawsuit was filed a day after the Mexican foreign minister attended the ceremony marking the second anniversary of the Walmart massacre in El Paso, Texas, where 23 people were killed, including several from Mexico.

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