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Legal victory for Mexico: an appeals court affirms that it can sue weapons manufacturers in the United States

2024-01-23T00:46:48.951Z

Highlights: An appeals court affirms that Mexico can sue weapons manufacturers in the United States. It is the first time that an appeals court has made a decision in this regard since the law that gives immunity to gun shops went into effect in 2005. The list of companies sued by Mexico includes Smith & Wesson, Barrett, Beretta, Glock and Ruger, producers of the weapons most popular among Mexican cartels. The defendant companies produce 68% of the hundreds of thousands of guns that enter the country illegally each year.


In a historic ruling, the judge reverses the decision of a Massachusetts court to dismiss the Latin American country's claims against some of the heavyweights of the arms industry


Mexico can sue weapons manufacturers in the United States.

This was decided this Monday by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the Mexican Government and revived the case it presented against some of the most important names in the arms industry of its neighboring country.

The matter now returns to a Massachusetts court, the same one that rejected the lawsuit in September 2022, to be reviewed again.

“Great news,” celebrated Alicia Bárcena, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

The main obstacle facing the Mexican cause is the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a statute promoted during the George W. Bush Administration that shields the arms industry from any lawsuit arising from misuse. to their products.

That legal shield and the immunity it gives to weapons producers was the argument used to dismiss the case in the first instance in a Massachusetts court.

On this occasion, the Court of Appeals decided that the lawsuit filed by Mexican authorities against six gun stores and a weapons distributor plausibly argued why immunity does not apply in this case.

Ebrard, then Chancellor, shows a map on the impact of illegal weapons in Mexico, in 2019.ERIC BARADAT (AFP)

“Therefore, we reverse the ruling issued by the District Court that PLCAA prevents Mexico from presenting its claim and we request that the judicial process be resumed,” reads the ruling, to which EL PAÍS has had access.

The ruling is historic.

It is the first time that an appeals court has made a decision in this regard since the law that gives immunity to gun shops went into effect in 2005. “It is a great step forward in holding the gun industry accountable for its contribution to armed violence and to stop the flow of weapons trafficked to the cartels,” said Jonathan Lowy, one of the lawyers representing the Government of Mexico, in a statement.

The list of companies sued by Mexico includes Smith & Wesson, Barrett, Beretta, Glock and Ruger, producers of the weapons most popular among Mexican cartels.

The Mexican Government accuses them of negligent business practices: it assures that they have deliberate marketing and product design practices to be attractive to criminal groups and benefit from illegal trafficking.

While the drugs go from south to north, the guns arrive in the opposite direction.

The defendant companies produce 68% of the hundreds of thousands of guns that enter the country illegally each year.

Bárcena urged this Monday that US authorities further investigate the trafficking of weapons for the exclusive use of the US Army to Mexico.

The issue has become a constant at the bilateral negotiating table and in diplomatic meetings between both countries, such as in the ministerial meeting that both governments held last week in Washington.

On the legal front, the battle returns to Massachusetts, in a process expected to last several years.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-01-23

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