MEXICO CITY (Dispatches) -The Mexican government has sued some of the biggest U.S. gun manufacturers, accusing them of fuelling bloodshed through reckless business practices.
The lawsuit, a first one filed by a national government against gun makers in the United States, said the companies’ military-grade weapons often ended up in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals who harmed civilians and government personnel in Mexico.
Among the companies named in the suit are some of the biggest names in the gun manufacturing industry, including Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta USA, Smith & Wesson Brands, and Glock.
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 said.
Mexico has strict laws regulating the sale and private use of guns, and the Mexican government issues fewer than 50 gun permits each year, according to the lawsuit. But thousands of guns are smuggled into Mexico by the country’s powerful drug cartels.
The lawsuit said over half a million guns are trafficked from the U.S border into Mexico each year, of which more than 68%, or over 340,000, are made by the firms in question. In 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides in Mexico were linked to trafficked weapons.
The Mexican government argues that the companies know that their practices contribute to the trafficking of guns to Mexico. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said at a press conference on Wednesday that the government was seeking an estimated $10 billion in compensation for the financial toll and bloodshed caused by the defendants’ alleged unlawful conduct.
Alejandro Celorio, a legal adviser for the ministry, told reporters that the damage caused by the violence of trafficked guns in Mexico was estimated at around 1.7 percent to 2 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. Mexico’s GDP last year was more than $1.2 trillion.