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The Mexican government filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday in a U.S. court against several U.S. gun manufacturers for negligent business practices that have caused damages in the Latin American country.
According to a document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to which the press had access, the lawsuit alleges that the units of Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Colt Manufacturing Company, Glock Inc, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc, and others knew that their commercial practices generated illegal arms trafficking in Mexico.
The civil lawsuit filed in a Massachusetts federal district court argues that the companies do not do enough to trace the guns and are fully aware that their business practices generate gun trafficking into Mexico.
Mexico is seeking damages that several sources estimate at up to $10 billion, Mexican officials told a press conference Wednesday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has prioritized addressing the flow of illicit weapons from the United States into Mexico, which has seen record homicide rates in recent years.
Mexico has long argued that gun smuggling from the United States should be addressed alongside the fight against drug trafficking, and the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has raised the issue with US officials.
One day after the second anniversary of the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which left 23 dead, many of them Mexicans, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard stated in a ceremony broadcast online that with this lawsuit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks that the defendant companies compensate the Mexican Government for the damages caused by their negligent practices, for an amount to be determined in the trial.
It seeks "that the companies immediately cease the negligent practices that cause damage in Mexico, that cause deaths in Mexico," said Ebrard.
It also seeks that arms producers develop and implement reasonable standards to monitor and, where appropriate, discipline their distributors who engage in arms trafficking into Mexico.
"The companies know this. They argue that when their products go out for sale and marketing, they no longer have any responsibility, but they do. Of course they have precise information on who buys heavy weapons," the foreign minister stressed.
He pointed out that, in addition, arms producers develop weapons for drug traffickers. There are weapons; he said, "made for that, for them to buy. They are more valuable; they have different types of arrangements, from the aesthetic point of view and from the point of view of use. This is part of the demand."
Manufacturers are also required to incorporate security mechanisms in the weapons to prevent them from being used by unauthorized persons or those linked to crime and pay for studies and media campaigns focused on preventing the illicit trafficking of weapons.
Ebrard pointed out that this demand does not replace other efforts made and should be continued. "Mexico must do more and better to control its border, we have to think about another type of supervision at the border, and that is what we are working on," he said.
He added that "without a lawsuit like this and if we don't win it, they are not going to understand and we are going to continue to see the same thing, we are going to continue to have deaths every day in our country."
He assured that Mexico is confident in the quality of its legal arguments and that the litigation will be won.