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Mexico sues U.S. gun manufacturers over arms trafficking

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Posted: Monday, August 9, 2021. 3:37 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The BBC reports that a lawsuit has been filed in Massachusetts, United States, seeking to hold American gun manufacturers accountable for knowingly fuelling bloodshed through reckless business practices by contributing to murders in Mexico caused by illegal drugs and arms trafficking.

While the court would decide on actual compensation, Mexican officials estimate a settlement would run up to US$10 billion.

The Mexican government says it took the action “to put an end to the massive damage that the [companies] cause by actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.”

The gun manufacturers “are conscious of the fact that their products are trafficked and used in illicit activities against the civilian population and authorities of Mexico”, the Foreign Ministry said in a document related to the lawsuit. Mexico said the companies had used “marketing strategies to promote weapons that are ever more lethal, without mechanisms of security or traceability”.

Mexican officials said that some of the guns made by Colt appeared to target the Mexican market in particular, such as a pistol engraved with the face and name of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata.

Officially, Mexico is strict regarding the sale of weapons and one ship on an army base in Mexico City is the official legal supplier; however, most who want a weapon, including criminal organizations, are able to buy various weaponry in supermarkets, on the Internet and at arms fairs in the U.S. which are then brought to Mexico and used in criminal activity.

The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives found that 70% of firearms recovered in Mexico between 2014 and 2018 which were submitted for tracing had come from the US. In 2019 alone, more than 17,000 murders in Mexico were linked to trafficked weapons.

One official told reporters the damage caused by trafficked guns would be equal to around 1.7% of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Mexico maintained that the lawsuit is not directed at the federal government and is willing to work with them to reduce arms trafficking.

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