The Mexican government took the unusual step of filing a civil lawsuit against major gun manufacturers at a US Federal District Court in Boston, Massachusetts, on Wednesday.
The government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, which has prioritized stemming the flow of illicit US arms across its northern border, said it was taking “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.”
Mexico has experienced record-high homicide rates in recent years and is seeking compensation for damages, which it estimates to be as high as $10 billion (€8.45 billion), officials said at a news conference Wednesday.
Authorities in Mexico, where the sale of firearms is severely restricted, say the vast majority of guns recovered at crime scenes there are from the US — smuggled into the country by powerful cartels.
The lawsuit filed in Boston Wednesday alleges that units of Smith Wesson, Barrett, Beretta, Colt, Glock, Sturm, Ruger and others, know their business practices generate illegal arms trafficking in Mexico.
Another defendant named in the suit is Interstate Arms, a Boston-area gun wholesaler that sells firearms from most of the manufacturers named in the suit to dealers around the US.
The government says its move was encouraged by two cases against gun manufacturers currently making their way through US courts in California, as well as a $33 million settlement between gun manufacturer Remington and some of the families of children and teachers killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
js/dj (AP, Reuters)