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Mexico is using courts to hold US gun manufacturers accountable.

Gabriel Mondragón Toledo, Inkstick
December 1, 2021

For years now, Mexican officials have made lax US gun control partly responsible for the violence in the country. Experts claim that at least 70% of the weapons used by criminals in Mexico come from the US. A series of attempts have been made to stop the flow of arms into Mexican territory, all to no avail. On Aug. 4, 2021, the Mexican government filed a lawsuit against a dozen US gun manufacturers in the Massachusetts District Court. According to the Mexican Foreign Affairs legal consultant, Alejandro Celorio Alcántara, the selection of this particular court is based on its progressive standing and its level of sophistication. Mexico is seeking $10 billion in compensation from nine gun manufacturers and two arms dealers.

Beyond the economic compensation, the goal of the lawsuit is twofold: To change the behavior of the American arms industry and to bring attention to the negligent practices of gun companies. The Mexican government is specifically looking for American gun manufacturers to stop advertising to drug cartels and establish security and tracking mechanisms in the weapons they produce. It is worth noting that these guns are attractive for drug cartel members because they are engraved with Mexican symbols and carry names in Spanish such as “Jefe de Jefes” (Boss of Bosses) that evoke the drug cartel’s power and history.

This is the first time that Mexico has filed such a lawsuit. Taking on US gun manufacturers, however, is a difficult and complicated feat.

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Photo: Jezael Melgoza