Thirteen US states go with Mexico in lawsuit against gun manufacturers

This undated photo provided by the United States Department of Justice shows high-powered firearms and ammo. Six men have been charged with plotting to smuggle assault weapons and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, including .50-caliber armor piercing bullets, to one of Mexico's most violent drug cartels, authorities announced Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (USDOJ via AP)

More than a dozen US states have sided with the Mexican government in its lawsuit against US gun manufacturers where it accuses them of being liable for a rise in gun violence in the nation.

A coalition of 14 attorneys general, from 13 Democratic states and Washington DC, filed a brief with the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts this week arguing that gunmakers are not shielded from responsibility over where their firearms wind up.

Last August, the Mexican government sued some of America’s biggest gunmakers including Smith & Wesson and Glock claiming they were knowingly contributing to the illegal trafficking of firearms to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.

The gun manufacturers pushed back and sought to dismiss the case in November, arguing that they are protected from liability under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

The PLCAA is a US federal law that protects gun manufacturers and sellers from being held liable when crimes are committed with their products.

The Mexican government argued that the law does not apply as the crimes in question are being carried out in Mexico and not in the US.

The US state attorneys general sided with Mexico this week, arguing that the PLCAA does not shield gun manufacturers and dealers from state’s consumer laws governing the marketing and sale of firearms.

“While Congress intended PLCAA to bar lawsuits seeking to hold gun manufacturers and sellers liable for harms committed by third parties, it also preserved remedies for harms committed by manufacturers and sellers themselves, as when they violate consumer protection laws applicable to the sale and marketing of guns,” the coalition wrote in the brief.

“Mexico’s lawsuit alleges the defendants themselves knowingly violated common law duties and statutes applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms. PLCAA is not, accordingly, a valid defense to Mexico’s lawsuit.”

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, who led the multistate brief, said in a statement that it is “unacceptable” for gun manufacturers to facilitate the illegal arms trade.

Source: El Heraldo de Mexico

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