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  • Country seeking up to $10bn in damages in Massachusetts lawsuit
  • US-made weapons used in cartel battles and attacks on civilians

The Guardian, August 4, 2021
By David Agren in Mexico City and Amanda Holpuch in New York

The Mexican government has launched legal action against US gunmakers in an unprecedented attempt to halt the flow of guns across the border, where US-made weapons are routinely used in cartel gun battles, terror attacks on civilians – and increasingly to challenge the state itself.

The Mexican government is suing six gun manufacturers in a Massachusetts court, alleging negligence in their failure to control their distributors and arguing that the illegal market in Mexico “has been their economic lifeblood”.

Announcing the suit on Wednesday, the foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, alleged that units of Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Glock and Ruger have catered to the tastes and needs of Mexican drug cartels and depend on illegal Mexican sales to boost their bottom lines.

John Lindsay-Poland, coordinator at Stop US Arms to Mexico, a project at the human rights group Global Exchange, said that even if the lawsuit does not succeed in bringing damages, it could expose the financial calculations gun companies make regarding gun imports to Mexico. “There is no way the gun companies don’t know that their guns are purchased en masse and being trafficked illegally across the border to be used in violent crime,” he said.

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Photo: Smith & Wesson Corporation is among the manufacturers being sued by the Mexican government. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images