A legal team representing the Mexican Government appeared before an appeals court located in Boston, USA, so that the lawsuit filed against the US firearms manufacturing companies be reinstated, after the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in September 2022. What is Mexico looking for?
The lawsuit, which demands compensation for 10,000 million dollars, did not have a good port in its first attempt, since the judge who ruled out its validity based his argument on the Protection of Legal Trade in Arms Act (PLCAA) that protects members of the US arms industry from lawsuits for the “misuse” of their products.
However, The Mexican representation argues that this law cannot cover damages outside of US territory and that they have been caused by “irresponsibility” of the defendant companies.
“The weapons used by criminal groups in our country do not appear here by spontaneous generation, but rather due to the irresponsibility of the companies that allow criminals to access them in the United States,” said Alejandro Celorio, a legal consultant for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
📌In Boston, the legal consultant for the @SRE_mx, @acelorioaexposed the arguments presented by the Mexican legal team to continue the lawsuit of our country against arms producers in the US, for facilitating their illicit trafficking to our territory:
1⃣Insist that the…
– Foreign Relations (@SRE_mx) July 24, 2023
The target of the claim are seven arms manufacturing companies, among which are Beretta USA; Barrett Firearms Manufacturing; Glock Inc.; Colt’s Manufacturing Co. in addition to the well-known arms company Smith & Wesson. This July 24, the Mexican government appealed to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston for the litigation to be revived.
The defendants argue “inadmissibility” in the case
The Mexican State states that The negligence in the control of arms sales by these companies plays a fundamental role in the entry of more than 500,000 firearms into Mexican territory. from the United States each year, since the supply of these seven organizations would represent 68% of the arms trafficked.
However, the defendant remains adamant in relying on the PLCAA.
Noel Francisco, one of Smith & Wesson’s lawyers, stated that there is no legal argument in the Mexican team’s speech for the case to be exempt from the protection of said law.
“There are licensed manufacturers who sell to licensed dealers who sell to licensed retailers who sell to people who meet the requirements of federal law, but some of them turn out to be fake buyers,” Francisco told Reuters.
On the other hand, one of the three judges that make up the court panel, William Kayatta, remarked that the Mexican State was not arguing that the companies had violated any federal law on arms control, but rather that these organizations could have “assisted and abetted others who trafficked arms abroad.”
A claim for damages in Mexican territory
The demand from the Mexican representation mentions that the fight against arms trafficking and its consequences have cost Mexico “more than 15,000 million dollars,” according to Celorio. Therefore, the compensation required by the legal team of the Mexican State would be to cover part of these expenses.
“That is what the claim is about, we have lost officials, human lives, injuries, psychological services, medical services, funeral services, replacing vehicles, aircraft. There are many expenses that the Government of Mexico has incurred with taxpayer money to respond to this scourge of illicit arms trafficking from the United States,” said the legal consultant.
The lawyers representing Mexico in Boston support this position.
Steve Shadowen, part of the Mexican legal team, stated that the demands aim for these companies to “begin to pay attention to their distribution systems” and that this can only materialize with a court order issued by US courts.
According to figures shared by the Mexican government, nearly 20,000 people die every year in Mexican territory due to incidents with firearms, most of which come from the production of the defendant companies. A situation that the National Palace seeks to fight at its roots, in the factories where these artifacts are produced.
With Reuters, EFE and local media