GOP-led states join gun industry in asking Supreme Court to dismiss Mexico's gun control lawsuit

 May 23, 2024

In 2021, the Mexican government joined forces with American gun control activists and filed a lawsuit against several U.S. firearms manufacturers that sought to hold the companies liable for Mexico's cartel-related gun violence.

The suit was initially dismissed but then revived by an appellate court, and now a coalition of 27 Republican state attorneys general are calling upon the Supreme Court to intervene and end Mexico's legal challenge against the U.S. firearms industry, U.S. sovereignty, and the Second Amendment rights of the American people, according to Fox News.

That brief from the GOP AGs comes roughly one month after the gun companies targeted by Mexico's lawsuit similarly urged the Supreme Court to quash the foreign nation's litigation against them.

Mexico trying to change U.S. gun laws, bankrupt gun industry with lawsuit

Fox News reported that the Mexican government filed its suit in 2021 against Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and several other U.S. firearms manufacturers and accused them of being liable and responsible for cross-border gun trafficking and deadly cartel violence.

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed that suit last year, but Mexico, with assistance from several Democrat-led states, successfully appealed the matter at the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which cited a narrow exception within the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act -- which otherwise bars frivolous lawsuits to hold gun manufacturers accountable for the criminal acts of third parties -- to revive the suit and allow it to proceed.

Now Mexico, in coordination with gun control groups and Democrat-led states, is attempting to use the courts to force changes to U.S. gun laws, gun rights, and the gun industry that would never be approved legislatively, according to critics.

GOP-led states call for SCOTUS intervention

On Wednesday, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudson announced that he was leading a coalition of 27 GOP-led states in asking the Supreme Court to intervene to protect not just the Second Amendment and the firearms industry but also U.S. sovereignty from the unconstitutional demands of a foreign country.

The petition asked the justices to consider "Whether the production and sale of firearms in the United States is the 'proximate cause' of alleged injuries to the Mexican government stemming from violence committed by drug cartels in Mexico," as well as "Whether the production and sale of firearms in
the United States amounts to 'aiding and abetting' illegal firearms trafficking because firearms companies allegedly know that some of their products are unlawfully trafficked."

In his statement, AG Knudson said, "American firearms manufacturers should not and do not have to answer for the actions of criminals, as established by the commonsense federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Mexico’s bad policies created the country’s gun violence problem."

"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," he added.

U.S. gun industry fights back against Mexican lawsuit

Roughly one month earlier, Reuters reported that the eight gun manufacturers named in Mexico's $10 billion lawsuit filed a similar petition with the Supreme Court that asked for the justices to intervene and reverse the appellate court's decision to revive the anti-gun litigation.

"Mexico's suit has no business in an American court," the brief asserted, and if allowed to continue would force U.S. gun companies to endure years of expensive court battles brought by a "foreign sovereign that is trying to bully the industry into adopting a host of gun-control measures that have been repeatedly rejected by American voters."

Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the gun industry-supporting NSSF, said in a statement that the PLCAA was specifically intended to guard against lawsuits like this, and that, "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," he 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."

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