Federal Judge Dismisses Mexico’s Claims Against U.S. Gun Manufacturers

On Friday, a U.S. federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Mexican government, claiming that U.S. gun manufacturers are partially liable for the gun violence in Mexico.

In dismissing the lawsuit, Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor explained that the gun manufacturers were protected under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The act, which was passed in 2005, protects gun manufacturers from liability for harm “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of a firearm.

The Mexican side tried to argue that the gun manufacturers were aware of the issue with guns being transported illegally to Mexico and used in violent crimes, yet they continued their business practices.

The government approximated that 70 percent of the guns brought into Mexico were from the U.S. in 2019. Mexico said that 17,000 homicides were related to trafficked weapons.

Lawyers for Mexico tried to persuade the court that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act did not apply in this situation because the harm occurred outside of the United States.

Therefore, they argued, the Mexican government was entitled to $10 billion in compensatory damages.

Ultimately, the court did not agree with this assessment.

“Mexico is seeking to hold defendants liable for practices that occurred within the United States and only resulted in harm in Mexico,” wrote Saylor in the 44-page decision. “This case thus represents a valid domestic application of the PLCAA, and the presumption against extraterritoriality does not apply.”

“While the court has considerable sympathy for the people of Mexico, and none whatsoever for those who traffic guns to Mexican criminal organizations, it is duty-bound to follow the law,” Saylor added.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry indicated that they would appeal the decision.

Among the defendants in the suit were Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC and Glock Inc.