MEXICO CITY (Border Report) — The 11 American gun manufacturers being sued by the Mexican government are asking the judge in the case to throw out the legal action saying it violates the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Mexico is claiming negligence and lack of control in connection with the manufacturing, marketing and sale of weapons made in the United States that end up in Mexico, guns that have been connected to crimes south of the border.
Lawyers representing the gun makers argued the case is frivolous saying it’s absurd to blame their clients for crimes that happen in other countries.
The case was filed in U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts last August.
Smith & Wesson along with 10 other companies are accused of aiding and abetting an increase in violence in Mexico.
Five months ago, the defendants requested a similar notion to dismiss the case claiming Mexico has no right to file such a case because the gun makers are protected under what’s called “procedural immunity” since their products are legally manufactured and sold in the United States.
In response, lawyers representing Mexico say the problem is “repetitive and systematic” with more and more guns ending up south of the border.
The judge in the case, F. Dennis Saylor, reportedly asked the plaintiff’s counsel why other countries haven’t filed similar claims and lawsuits involving crimes that occur outside the U.S.
Lawyers for Mexico responded that the suit does not go “against the First Amendment, nor does it question American values,” and that it simply “asks for gun manufacturers to sell and distribute their guns to responsible customers according to the laws in the United States.”
They also told the court there is evidence guns are being brought to Mexico in an illegal manner and then turned over to drug cartels.
“All the defendants actively and systematically facilitate gun trafficking into Mexico,” said one of Mexico’s lawyers.
After the hearing, Alejandro Celorio, legal advisor for Mexico’s Foreign Relations Office, said they are optimistic the judge will allow the case to run its course through trial.
“Our legal arguments are sufficient, robust and solid for the judge to take into consideration, we hope he will allow us to continue into the next phase of the case,” said Celorio.
Celorio also stated the Mexican government is not in a position now to accept an out-of-court settlement in the case.
According to the Mexican government, every year more than half a million weapons are imported to Mexico from the United States with almost 70 percent of the guns having been made by the firms being sued including Beretta U.S.A., Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Colt and Glock Incorporated.