A US judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit that the Mexican government had filed against large arms manufacturers and in which it asked for 10,000 million dollars.
Mexico sought to hold the companies Smith & Wesson Brands Inc, Sturm, Ruger & Co and Glock and Colt, among others, responsible for designing weapons that, in their opinion, facilitate their trafficking to drug cartels in their country.
Federal Judge Dennis Saylor of Boston said federal law “unequivocally” bars lawsuits that seek to hold gunmakers liable for weapons falling into the hands of drug traffickers.
Saylor said the Lawful Gun Trade Protection Act covers manufacturers from lawsuits for “damages caused solely by the misuse, criminal or unlawful, of firearms … by others when the product functioned as it was designed and planned.”
“While the court has great sympathy for the people of Mexico, and none for those who traffic weapons for Mexican criminal organizations, it has a duty to uphold the law,” Saylor wrote in his ruling.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry said immediately that it will appeal the court decision and that it “will continue to insist that the arms trade must be responsible, transparent and accountable, and that the negligent way in which they are sold in the United States makes it easier for criminals to access to them”.
When the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador filed the lawsuit in August 2021, it called it an “unprecedented” legal process.
According to data from the Mexican executive provided at the time, each year more than 500,000 weapons are illegally trafficked from the US and, in 2019 alone, they were responsible for more than 17,000 intentional homicides in the Latin American country .
Mexico assures that the defendant companies are aware that their products are trafficked and used in illicit activities against the civilian population and the authorities.
According to the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, when the claim began, the companies develop “different models for drug traffickers” and the country's intention with the lawsuit is that "the actions of these companies be modified" and that they implement standards to monitor and, if necessary, “discipline their distributors.”
The Mexican government said that the lawsuit is against the companies and not against the US government and its regulations.