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US Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Gun Makers, Mexico Says Will Appeal

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed a $10 billion lawsuit brought by Mexico to hold US manufacturers responsible for facilitating the smuggling of a flood of weapons to drug cartels across the border between the two countries.

Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor’s decision in federal court in Boston is a victory for Smith & Wesson Brands Inc, Sturm, Ruger & Co and others accused of undermining Mexico’s strict gun laws by designing, marketing and selling firearms. military-style assault that the cartels could use.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry replied that the Government will appeal the judge’s decision and that it is a decision “in the first instance.”

“The Government of Mexico will continue to insist that the arms trade must be responsible, transparent and accountable, and that the negligent way in which they are sold in the United States makes it easier for criminals to access them,” he said in a statement.

Saylor said federal law “unequivocally” prohibits lawsuits that seek to hold gun manufacturers liable when people use guns for their intended purpose. He also said that, although the law contained several specific exceptions, none were applied.

“While the court has great sympathy for the people of Mexico, and none for those who traffic weapons for Mexican criminal organizations, it has a duty to uphold the law,” Saylor wrote in a 44-page decision.

An attorney for Smith & Wesson declined to comment. Attorneys for Sturm, Ruger did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

However, Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation gun trade group, welcomed the dismissal of the “unfounded lawsuit.”

“The crime that is devastating the people of Mexico is not the fault of members of the firearms industry,” Keane said.

In its August 2021 lawsuit, Mexico estimated that 2.2% of the nearly 40 million weapons manufactured annually in the United States are smuggled into Mexico, including up to 597,000 weapons produced by the defendants.

Mexico said smuggling has been a crucial factor in pushing the country to third place in the world in the number of gun-related deaths. He also claimed to suffer many other harms, such as decreased investment and economic activity, as well as the need to spend more on law enforcement and public safety.

However, the judge said that Mexico could not overcome a provision found in a US law, the Law for the Protection of the Legal Trade in Arms, which protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits for “damages caused solely by the misuse , criminal or illegal, of firearms made by others when the product worked as designed and intended”.

The list of defendants also includes Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc, Beretta USA Corp, Colt’s Manufacturing Co and Glock Inc.

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