(Bloomberg) -- Mexico filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court Wednesday against Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., Glock, Inc., Sturm, Ruger and Co. and other major gun manufacturers, alleging that negligence on their part contributes to arms trafficking south of the border.
The civil suit in a Massachusetts federal district court argues that the companies “wreak havoc in Mexican society, by persistently supplying a torrent of guns to the drug cartels”.
“For decades the government and its citizens have been victimized by a deadly flood of military-style and other particularly lethal guns that flows from the U.S. across the border, into criminal hands in Mexico,” the country said in its lawsuit. “This flood is not a natural phenomenon or an inevitable consequence of the gun business or of U.S. gun laws. It is the foreseeable result of the defendants’ deliberate actions and business practices.”
The complaint names U.S.-based manufacturers “whose guns are most often recovered in Mexico”: Smith & Wesson, Glock and Sturm, Ruger and Co., Beretta U.S.A. Corp, Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC and Century International Arms Inc. It also names Barrett, saying its .50-caliber sniper rifle “is a weapon of war prized by the drug cartels,” and Interstate Arms, a wholesaler.
Smith & Wesson, Glock and Sturm, Ruger and Co. didn’t immediately reply to written requests for comment.
In 2019, 17,000 Mexican citizens were murdered with guns manufactured in the U.S., compared to 14,000 citizens of the U.S. itself. This is despite Mexico having a smaller population and only one gun store, according to the suit.
Mexico has long argued that gun smuggling from the U.S. needs to be addressed alongside the fight against drug trafficking, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government has raised the question with U.S. officials.
The country said it was suing “to put an end to the massive damage” that the gun makers cause by enabling the flow of weapons across the U.S.’s southern border, saying that almost all of the firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico come from the north.
Torrent of Guns
The defendants “wreak havoc in Mexican society, by persistently supplying a torrent of guns to the drug cartels,” the country said. They also do business “in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico,” use corrupt dealers and “dangerous and illegal sales practices,” design the weapons to fire automatically and ignore recommendations to prevent such trafficking, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks damages for Mexico for an amount to be determined by the court.
(Updates with details from the suit in 4th paragraph.)
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