Industry trade

US judge dismisses Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit against gunmakers, Mexico appeals

Sept 30 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit seeking to hold U.S. arms manufacturers responsible for facilitating the trafficking of a deadly flow of weapons across the U.S. border -Mexican to the drug cartels.

Chief Justice F. Dennis Saylor’s decision in federal court in Boston is a victory for Smith & Wesson Brands Inc (SWBI.O), Sturm, Ruger & Co (RGR.N) and others accused of undermining Mexico’s strict gun laws by designing, marketing and selling military-style assault weapons that cartels could use.

Mexico said it would appeal the decision.

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“This lawsuit brought by the Mexican government has received global recognition and has been considered a turning point in the discussion of the responsibility of the firearms industry in the experience of violence in Mexico and the region,” said the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Saylor said federal law “unequivocally” prohibits lawsuits to hold gunmakers accountable when people use firearms for their intended purpose. He said the law contained several narrow exceptions but none applied.

“While the court has considerable sympathy for the Mexican people, and none for those who traffic arms to Mexican criminal organizations, it is its duty to uphold the law,” Saylor wrote in a 44-page ruling. .

Other defendants included Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc, Beretta USA Corp, Colt’s Manufacturing Co and Glock Inc.

Representatives for the companies declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. Lawrence Keane, the general counsel for the firearms industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation, welcomed the dismissal of the “baseless lawsuit”.

“The crime that is devastating the Mexican people is not the fault of members of the gun industry, who under US law can only sell their lawful products to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights. after passing a background check,” he said.

In its August 2021 complaint, Mexico estimated that 2.2% of the nearly 40 million guns produced each year in the United States are smuggled into Mexico, including as many as 597,000 guns made by the defendants. .

Mexico said smuggling was a key factor in its ranking third in the world for the number of gun-related deaths. He also claimed to suffer many other harms, including declining investment and economic activity and the need to spend more on law enforcement and public safety.

But the judge said Mexico could not circumvent a provision of a US law, the Lawful Arms Trade Protection Act, which protects gunmakers from lawsuits for “harm caused solely by criminal or illegal misuse of firearms products…by others when the product has performed as intended and intended.”

Other defendants included Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc, Beretta USA Corp, Colt’s Manufacturing Co and Glock Inc.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston and Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Chris Reese, Bill Berkrot, Leslie Adler and William Mallard

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