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US gunsmiths demand dismissal of Mexico’s lawsuit

David Brooks


Newspaper La Jornada
Tuesday, March 15, 2022, p. eleven

New York., The gun manufacturers sued by Mexico in a federal court in Massachusetts argued that US law protects them from prosecution and that no law has been proven in the legal trade of gunsmiths in the United States and therefore Therefore, they request that the judge dismiss the case for lack of merit.

In their individual and joint responses to the legal arguments presented by Mexico in favor of proceeding to trial, eight armories reiterated their position that the case lacks the elements to file a trial.

Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV of the district court in Massachusetts now has 45 days to make his decision on whether the case proceeds.

In their joint response of 40 pages, the gunsmiths allege that this is a case presented in a court in Boston for damages that occurred in Mexico, and that none of the defendants has committed any violation in the neighboring country. All of the defendants are US companies that the Mexican government is seeking to hold accountable for lawful conduct that occurred entirely within the United States, on the theory that some of their products were smuggled into Mexico by criminals and used by other criminals to commit crimes. there.

That, they say, are acts of third parties that have nothing to do with the manufacturers and their legal trade in the United States, and they are not present in this case.

The defendants also reject the argument that this case should proceed under Mexican law in the United States. In the end, the sovereign rights of the United States to regulate how firearms should be manufactured and sold in this territory far outweigh Mexico’s remote interests in regulating the US firearms industry as a means of mitigate the damage caused by Mexican criminals in that countrythey affirm.

Once again, they pointed out that the so-called Protection of the Legal Trade in Arms Act (PLCAA, for its acronym in English), which grants broad legal immunity to manufacturers, distributors and sellers of arms, protects from civil lawsuits like this one for the use illegal of its products in the United States.

They affirm that the case has no merit because at the center of the demand for justice is the illicit activity of third parties who have no connection with the defendants. They affirm that “the violence of the Mexican cartels is completely independent – ​​since organized crime groups would carry out the same violent activity using any of the other millions of firearms available without relation to the alleged conduct of the accused – and, therefore, Therefore, Mexico has no merit to sue the defendants here.”

Accuse speculation

They underline that it is “completely speculative to say that the supposedly illegal sales and commercial activities of the defendants… cause the cartels to harm the Mexican government”, argue that criminal groups have access to millions of weapons not manufactured by the defendants and emphasize that the mere existence of a firearm does not cause anyone to use it illegally. What causes harm is exclusively the independent decision to use a weapon or not..

They reject Mexico’s argument that US manufacturers arm the cartels, but rather “a number of criminal actors equip criminal organizations across the US border with the products lawfully manufactured and distributed by the defendants… None of the defendants committed any act in Mexico.”

For all this, they establish that it is pure speculation to affirm that the cartels would commit less violence without the alleged conduct of the defendants. They conclude that therefore the damages alleged by Mexico, in accordance with the law, cannot be attributed to the defendants.

In their individual arguments, they share the conclusion that Mexico has failed to comply with its obligation to present evidence that the alleged damages it has suffered as a result of criminal violence in Mexico are related to the legal sales of firearms by gunsmiths. to federally licensed dealers in Massachusetts, and the court should dismiss the case accordingly.

This is the reply to Mexico’s first response on the arguments of the defendants, delivered to the court on January 31 [ 01/politica/003n1pol].

Now, those involved will wait for the judge’s decision on whether the case proceeds or not.

Mexico filed its civil lawsuit against arms manufacturing companies and a distributor in the United States on August 4 before the United States District Court in Massachusetts.

The government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador argues that the manufacturers deliberately facilitate the sale of firearms that finally reach the hands of organized crime on the other side of the border and with the demand they are seeking both economic reparations for the damage, as well as commitments from these companies curb the illicit flow of arms by taking greater responsibility for the sale and commercial promotion of their products, which fuel violence across the border.

Mexico’s lawsuit is supported in court by six of the main firearms violence prevention organizations in the neighboring country, prosecutors from 13 entities and from Washington DC, as well as dozens of district attorneys around the country, who joined the case as friends of the court.

The defendant companies that submitted their individual responses and a collective response are Smith & Wesson, Glock, Barrett Firearms, Beretta USA, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Colt’s Manufacturing Co., Century International Arms and Witmer Public Safety Group.

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