In a significant development, an appeals court has allowed Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit against seven American gun manufacturers and a distributor to proceed.
The lawsuit alleges that these companies “deliberately facilitate gun trafficking” into Mexico. This decision marks a crucial step in holding the gun industry accountable for its role in gun violence.
Lawsuit filed against U.S. gun manufacturers
The lawsuit, filed by the Mexican government in 2021, accuses American gun manufacturers of enabling firearms trafficking into Mexico intentionally.
Initially dismissed by a federal district court in Massachusetts, the case moves forward following the appeals court ruling.
Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)
The dismissed lawsuit had cited the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) as a defense used by U.S. gun companies to protect themselves from Mexican claims.
The PLCAA restricts certain lawsuits against gun manufacturers and sellers in U.S. federal and state courts.
However, the appeals court found that Mexico’s complaint may involve a claim exempt from PLCAA rules.
The lawsuit seeks a substantial $10 billion in compensation.
Ruling advances accountability in gun manufacturing
This decision is a significant development in holding gun manufacturers accountable for their contribution to gun violence and addressing the trafficking of guns to criminal organizations.
Jonathan Lowy, president of Global Action on Gun Violence and co-counsel for the Mexican government in the case, welcomed the court’s decision.
He stated that it was a crucial step in holding the gun industry accountable for its role in gun violence and curbing the flow of trafficked guns to criminal organizations.
However, Lawrence Keane, chief lobbyist and media spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), expressed disagreement with the decision.
Mexico’s lawsuit and response from State Attorneys General
He argued that Mexico should focus on enforcing its laws and addressing criminal activity within its borders.
Mexico’s lawsuit alleges that the increase in gun violence in the country correlates with the rise in gun production in the United States.
It claims that between 70 and 90 percent of guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were trafficked from the United States.
In response, a coalition of 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief opposing Mexico’s claims.
Mexico’s theory and broader implications
They argue that Mexico’s theory rests on the assertion that American gun manufacturers knowingly cause Mexican gun violence, which they believe falls apart under scrutiny.
This lawsuit is part of a broader debate on gun control, accountability, and the role of gun manufacturers in gun violence.
The appeals court’s decision to allow the lawsuit to proceed signals a potential shift in the legal landscape surrounding gun-related cases.
Ongoing debate and responsibilities of gun manufacturers
While the outcome of this lawsuit remains uncertain, it underscores the importance of addressing the complex issue of gun trafficking and its impact on neighboring countries like Mexico.
It also raises questions about the responsibilities of gun manufacturers in preventing their products from ending up in the hands of criminal organizations.