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Gun Industry Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Shut Down Laughable Lawsuit by Mexico

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Firearm industry members targeted by Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case that seeks to blame them for the harm caused by lawless narco-terrorist drug cartels in Mexico. Mexico’s lawsuit also seeks to dictate how firearms are made and sold throughout the United States through a federal court injunction, in effect usurping the role of Congress and 50 state legislatures.

The industry defendants in Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., et al., have asked the Supreme Court to consider two questions – whether the lawful production and sale of firearms in the United States is the “proximate cause” of alleged injuries to the Mexican government stemming from cartel-driven violence and if that also amounts to “aiding and abetting” illegal firearms trafficking because Mexico alleges these manufacturers know their products are unlawfully trafficked.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) precludes frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry for damages caused by the criminal and unlawful acts of remote third parties. A U.S. District court dismissed the case, finding the claims were barred by the PLCAA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, however, revived the case on Mexico’s appeal, holding Mexico’s claims alleging that the defendants know their regular business practices contribute to illegal firearm trafficking fit within a narrow exception to the PLCAA.

In their petition the defendants argue Mexico’s claims should be dismissed because firearm manufacturers lawfully produce and sell firearms in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations governing the firearm industry. Mexico’s claims do not dispute this and no evidence of illegal activity has been produced. Rather, Mexico argues American firearm manufacturers are liable because they refuse to adopt policies to restrict lawful firearm ownership in the United States.

“This case represents the very reason PLCAA was passed by a wide bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “These legal and heavily regulated products are lawfully made and sold. Mexico hasn’t introduced any claim indicating illegal acts by the manufacturers. This is an attempt by a foreign nation to exert influence over U.S. laws and worse, Mexico is working hand-in-glove with gun control groups to weaponize the courts to surrender U.S. sovereignty.”

The defendants’ petition argues that Mexico alleges U.S. firearm manufacturers are liable for the criminal violence perpetuated by narco-terrorist drug cartels by refusing to adopt gun control restrictions that exceed what the law requires for the safe production and sale of firearms. Further, they argue the First Circuit erred when it reversed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case. The First Circuit’s decision to allow for an exception to PLCAA fails because there is no evidence U.S. firearm manufacturers violated federal laws against aiding and abetting firearm trafficking. Mexico’s complaint “fails to identify any product, policy, or action by the American firearms industry that is deliberately designed to facilitate the unlawful activities of Mexican drug cartels.”

Keane added, “Members of the firearm industry are not legally responsible for international narco-terrorists criminally acquiring firearms and smuggling them into Mexico in violation of both U.S. and Mexican law where they are misused by the drug cartels.” According to ATF, only about 1 percent of legally exported firearms are recovered abroad at crime scenes and traced.

The defendants’ petition added, “At bottom, this case reduces to a clash of national values: Mexico makes no secret that it abhors this country’s approach to firearms, and that it wants to use the American court system to impose domestic gun controls on the United States that the American people themselves would never accept through the ordinary political process. But even though that grievance is placed under the lettering of a complaint, and was filed on a docket, it has no basis in law. This Court’s review is badly needed.”

 

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