Gun makers ask court to dismiss Mexican government lawsuit

Nov 22, 2021, 6:35 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Gun manufacturers asked a federal court in Massachusetts on Monday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Mexico’s government in August arguing that U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors fueled violence in Mexico through their negligent and illegal commercial practices.

Gun maker Beretta U.S.A. Corp. argued there is no basis for the court to exercise jurisdiction over Beretta in the case.

“Plaintiff is the government of Mexico. Beretta is a Maryland corporation with its corporate home, headquarters, and principal place of business in Maryland. And the harm for which Plaintiff seeks redress all occurred in Mexico,” the company wrote in a document filed with the court Monday.

Other gun manufacturers — including Smith & Wesson, Colt’s Manufacturing, Glock Inc., and Sturm, Ruger & Co. — also sought to have the suit dismissed.

Another defendant is Interstate Arms, a Boston-area wholesaler that sells guns from all but one of the named manufacturers to dealers around the U.S.

The Mexican government has argued the companies know their practices contribute to the trafficking of guns to Mexico and facilitate it. The government demanded a number of changes in how the companies do business, and compensation for the costs of the violence.

Mexico’s government estimates 70% of the weapons trafficked to Mexico come from the U.S., according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and that in 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides were linked to trafficked weapons.

Beretta argued the Mexican government’s case is thin, saying no factual allegations in Mexico’s complaint connect Beretta’s lawful sales in Massachusetts to the financial and economic harm the Mexican government claims to have suffered in its own country,

“Plaintiff does not allege that the criminals in Mexico used, received, or purchased the firearms that Beretta sold in Massachusetts,” the company argued.

On Monday, Alejandro Celorio, a legal adviser in the ministry, said via Twitter that their legal team would analyze the manufacturers’ responses. Mexico has until Jan. 31 to file its own formal response.

“Today litigation is not won, nor lost,” Celorio wrote.

The filing came on the same day Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told the United Nations Security Council that the U.N. must do more because efforts so far to control the trafficking of small arms was “insufficient.”

Mexico currently holds the council’s rotating presidency.

“The private actors must contribute with decisive actions of self-regulation and monitoring of their distribution chains to avoid the diversion and illicit trafficking of the guns they produce and sell, as well as assure that those that they sell under the law do not get into criminal hands,” Ebrard said.

___

Claudia Torrens in New York and Christopher Sherman contributed.

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Gun makers ask court to dismiss Mexican government lawsuit