Mexico Wednesday filed an appeal in its civil lawsuit against US-based firearms manufacturers and distributors in an attempt to crack down on the trafficking of American weapons to drug cartels within Mexico.
In its statement announcing the appeal, Mexican authorities argued, “there is a correlation between the negligent practices of companies and the arms trafficking that leads to violence in Mexico, as well as other crimes such as human trafficking and drug trafficking, particularly of fentanyl.”
The original complaint centered on whether the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which broadly protects the firearm industry from civil liability if their products are used in a crime, extends to the criminal use of weapons and consequent damage in Mexican territory. The complaint was dismissed by the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts in September 2022, which found that “the PLCAA unequivocally bars lawsuits seeking to hold gun manufacturers responsible for the acts of individuals using guns for their intended purpose.” Now, the Mexican government is seeking an analysis of “whether the decision of the Boston District Court was in accordance with the law,” particularly regarding the applicability of the PLCAA in Mexican territory.
The Mexican government’s initial complaint alleged that the named defendants, including seven major gun manufacturers and one gun wholesaler and distributor, caused massive damage by “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.” A coalition of attorneys general from 13 states and Washington DC filed an amicus brief supporting the Mexican government’s original lawsuit, arguing for some level of accountability for how gun manufacturers, dealers, and distributors market and sell their products.
“This action by the Government of Mexico has received worldwide recognition,” declared the Mexican government following its original complaint’s dismissal, “and has been considered a turning point in the discussion about the responsibility of the arms industry in the violence experienced in Mexico and the region.”