The Mexican government is suing United States gun manufacturers and distributors in U.S. federal court, arguing that their negligent and illegal commercial practices have unleashed tremendous bloodshed in Mexico.
The unusual lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, targets some of the biggest names in the gun industry. Among those being sued are Smith & Wesson Brands, Barret Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Colt’s Manufacturing Company and Glock Inc.
Another defendant is Interstate Arms, a Boston-area wholesaler that sells guns from all but one of the named manufacturers to dealers around the United States
The lawsuit says the companies know their practices contribute to the trafficking of guns to Mexico and facilitate it. It’s seeking compensation for the havoc the guns have wrought in Mexico.
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 says, noting that the vast majority of guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were trafficked from the United States.
“We are going to win the trial, and we are going to drastically reduce illicit arms trafficking to Mexico,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters.
The sale of firearms is severely restricted in Mexico and controlled by the Defense Department. But thousands of guns are smuggled in to Mexico by drug cartels.
The Mexican government says recent rulings in U.S. courts contributed to its decision to file the lawsuit. It cited a decision in California allowing a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson to move forward, a recent lawsuit filed against Century Arms related to a 2019 shooting in Gilroy, California, and a $33 million settlement reached by Remington with some of the families whose children were killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, mass school shooting.