27 Republican States Urge Supreme Court to Review Mexico’s Lawsuit Against US Gun Manufacturers

27 Republican States Urge Supreme Court to Review Mexico’s Lawsuit Against US Gun Manufacturers
Law enforcement agents stand behind seized weapons bound for Mexico during a press conference in Laredo, Texas, on July 2, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

A group of 27 Republican attorneys general is calling on the Supreme Court to review a $10 billion lawsuit filed by the Mexican government, which seeks to hold U.S. gun manufacturers responsible for the large number of firearms being trafficked across the southern border.

In a filing with the nation’s highest court on Tuesday, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, along with 25 of his GOP colleagues, asked the court to hear the case to prevent what they described as a foreign sovereign from “hauling the American firearms industry into court seeking redress for purely extra-territorial harms caused by third-party criminal conduct.”

The speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and president of the Arizona Senate also joined in filing the amicus brief, which argues that anti-gun activists are using the judiciary to attempt to “crush the firearms industry” and take guns away from Americans, in violation of their Second Amendment rights.

In this specific case, the attorneys general argued that “anti-gun activists” are using “legal theories” to find ways to prevent gun purchases and exploit the narrow exceptions in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which was enacted by Congress in 2005.

Under that act, lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition, are prohibited in U.S. federal and state courts when they seek relief or damages resulting from the misuse of their products by others.

“This case is but the latest attempt to cram materially identical litigation into one of PLCAA’s narrow exceptions,” the Republican prosecutors wrote in their filing with the court. “Mexico seeks to do so via artful pleading that ignores its own policy choices. And yet, the First Circuit blessed Mexico’s gambit by minimizing the PLCAA predicate exception’s proximate causation requirement, effectively neutering PLCAA.”

Companies ‘Deliberately Facilitate Gun Trafficking’

The lawsuit was filed by the Mexican government against seven American manufacturers and a distributor—including Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, Barrett, Sturm, and Ruger, among others—in 2021, alleging that the companies “deliberately facilitate gun trafficking” into Mexico.

It further claimed that Mexico only has one gun store in the entire nation where individuals can legally purchase a gun and that fewer than 50 firearm permits are issued annually.

Despite this, the nation has the third highest gun-related deaths globally, the lawsuit noted.

The lawsuit further cited rising gun violence statistics, noting that the number of gun-related homicides in Mexico grew from less than 2,500 in 2003 to approximately 23,000 in 2019. Homicides also rose in recent years, from 15 percent in 1997 to 69 percent in 2021, the lawsuit stated.

The rise in gun violence “correlates with the increase of gun production in the United States” since the end of the ban on so-called assault weapons in America, the lawsuit claimed

“Mexico claims that between 70 and 90 percent of the guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were trafficked into the country from the United States,” it read.

Gun makers, however, have argued they should be immune from the lawsuit due to protections granted under the PLCAA, and in 2022, a federal court dismissed the case on the grounds that the companies are, in fact, immune from civil liability under that law.

Court Rules Lawsuit Can Go Ahead

Yet in January, a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed that dismissal following an appeal from Mexico, allowing the multi-million dollar lawsuit to go ahead.

“Mexico is a sovereign nation,” the group of Republicans wrote in their legal filing with the court. “It can close its borders if it desires to do so, but it chooses not to. Mexico’s policy decisions have caused cartel violence within its borders. And now, the Mexican government has adopted a conscious policy of refusing to address that violence.”

NTD Photo
Mexican Military guard a gap into the United States wall seen rom San Ysidro, Calif., on April 12, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“Mexico should not be permitted to effectively deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights to alleviate the negative consequences of its own policy choices,” they concluded.

In a statement to The Epoch Times on Tuesday, Mr. Knudsen said American firearms manufacturers “should not and do not have to answer for the actions of criminals,” citing the PLCAA.

“Mexico’s bad policies created the country’s gun violence problem,” he continued. “Rather than take responsibility, Mexico and anti-gun activists are trying to blame and bankrupt American companies that follow the law. The appeals court erred in their decision and the Supreme Court needs to correct it.”

The case is Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.

Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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