On Monday, October 10, the Mexican government revealed that they are filing a second lawsuit against five large gun distributors located in Arizona reports NBC News. Mexico alleges that American gun manufacturers are contributing to arms trafficking in Mexico. The defendants in the case include Sprague’s Sports Inc, SnG Tactical (LLC), Diamondback Shooting Sports Inc, Lone Prairie, Hub Target Sports, and Ammo A-Z. This new lawsuit was filed in wake of the dismissal of their first lawsuit, which was filed in Boston and sued for $10 billion in reparations. The first suit was filed in August 2021 and the verdict was given in late September of this year. The Associated Press explains that Judge F. Dennis Saylor ruled that Mexico’s claim did not provide enough evidence to overcome the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). PLCAA was passed in 2005 and was made to provide gun manufacturers and distributors broad immunity from liability and make it difficult for lawsuits to hold the U.S. firearms industry accountable.
This legal action comes in response to the widespread gun violence faced in Mexico today, and the Mexican government’s efforts to cut off the illegal gun trade between Mexican Cartels and U.S. manufacturers. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, “The Mexican government estimates 70% of the weapons trafficked into Mexico come from the U.S.” Al Jazeera reports that the complaint also brought up the argument that in 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides in Mexico were linked to trafficked weapons. Mexico has appealed this claim along with filing another lawsuit and has said it plans to go up to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be.
In the Arizona lawsuit, the Mexican government is asking the defendants to put in place more measures to prevent illegal arms trafficking and have a more well-monitored record of all gun sales as well as pay damages to the Mexican government as retribution for the harmful effects of the gun violence epidemic. Legal advisor Alejandro Celorio reported to Reuters that the lawsuit aims to address the immigration crisis at the border and how a decrease in gun trafficking will decrease gun violence in Mexico. On October 10, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard took to social media to voice his opinion about the situation saying that Mexico is considering withdrawing their support in the U.S. war on drugs if the U.S. does not support their war on arms reports Barron’s.
Arms trafficking is a lucrative business that U.S. companies are earning significant profits from. The Arms Control Association determined that “In 2021, specialists who collaborate with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated the annual value of guns trafficked from the United States at more than $250 million.” As of 2020, the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics states that “59.277 million or 21.4 percent of people 12 and over have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year.” These numbers show no sign of decreasing, and as this drug epidemic continues to grow the U.S. needs the support of Mexico now more than ever.
Submitting to the ultimatum presented by the Mexican government can be costly for America’s image abroad. Whatever the verdict of this second case, the Biden Administration, which has advocated for more gun regulations, will have to decide whether to support American corporate interests abroad or maintain close relations with its border ally. As the global order moves in a multipolar direction with rising powers like China, Russia, and India wielding more and more influence, it may not be in U.S. interests to ignore the needs of its neighbor.